2011 NFL Betting Preview: San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers (9-7 SU, 8-7-1 ATS, 2nd Place in AFC West)

The San Diego Chargers finished with the top ranked offense and the top ranked defense in terms of total yards in 2010, but they failed to reach the postseason. In fact, the Chargers actually outscored their opponents 441-322 over the course of the season, but they still only managed to finish 9-7. How could a team with such impressive statistics fall short of the playoffs? There were a couple of key factors that held this team back in 2010.

The Chargers had a minus six turnover ratio last season. The offense constantly turned the ball over in the red zone. The defense was put in a bad position on numerous occasions because of turnovers and terrible special teams play. The Chargers special teams were abysmal last season, and they lost several games solely because of their punt and kickoff team blunders.

San Diego still has a franchise quarterback at the helm. Phillip Rivers has proven to be one of the best in the NFL, and I think he still has some room to grow. Darren Sproles is no longer with the team, but the Chargers are hoping Ryan Matthews is ready to carry more of the load in his second year in the NFL. Matthews averaged 4.3 yards per carry, but he struggled with injuries and missed several games.

Vincent Jackson signed his non-exclusive franchise tag last week, and he should help the passing attack by providing a deep threat. Antonio Gates is the best tight end in the NFL when he is healthy, but staying healthy was a problem last year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers used four of their first five draft picks to bolster an already impressive defense. I expect Cory Liuget to get a lot of playing time right away, and he’ll really help the front four get into the backfield even more often in 2011. The Chargers have what is one of the best secondaries in all of football, and it appears everyone will be back this season. There is no reason to believe this Chargers defense will experience a drop off this year.

San Diego Chargers 2011-2012 NFL Prediction: 11-5 (1st Place in AFC West)

Norv Turner is definitely on the hot seat in San Diego. The Chargers have more than enough talent to be competing for a Super Bowl, but this team must execute better. Rivers has plenty of weapons on offense to move the football, and the defense appears even better on paper than they did in 2010. If the special teams play could be at least average, the Chargers have a good shot at winning the AFC West. The Chargers weren’t far away last year, and I think they’ll do enough to top the Chiefs this season.

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!

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