Once a consistent playoff contender and one-time Super Bowl contender, the San Diego Chargers have taken a bit of a fall from grace. The days of LaDainian Tomlinson are now long gone, while San Diego starts fresh in 2013 with new head coach Mike McCoy officially closing the door on the Norv Turner era.
As erratic as the Chargers had been under Turner, though, they still remain fairly talented on both sides of the ball, and enter the new NFL season as nice Super Bowl sleepers considering their 50/1 odds to win it all.
That doesn’t mean people should bet it all on the Chargers, but for the teams in the bottom half in the odds department, they’re one of the sleepers that could surprise.
After all, McCoy is changing the offense, which means quarterback Philip Rivers won’t have to rely on a regressing deep ball or inconsistent deep options. Instead, he’ll focus on his elite accuracy in an effort to let his offensive teammates do the hard work, while getting the ball out quickly to help make up for a shaky offensive line.
If Rivers can do that effectively, it could make life easier on (so far) bust running back Ryan Mathews, who absolutely has the talent to be a star, but so far has come up remarkably short.
Should Mathews live up to his end of the deal, San Diego would be back among the league’s more potent offensive threats, and would only need it’s already solid defense to maintain it’s current trajectory. That could prove awfully hard to do now that pass-rushing specialist Melvin Ingram is lost for the season, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Ultimately, there have been positive changes in San Diego that offer up some optimism, giving them that sleeper status. But there’s a reason why they’re only above 10 other teams in the odds rankings: they still have too many question marks.
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