2014 San Diego Chargers Opponents and Schedule Highlights
by Darin Zank - 4/15/2014
The San Diego Chargers won their last four games last season to unexpectedly make the playoffs in their first go-around under new head coach Mike McCoy. They then won a road playoff game at Cincinnati, before falling at rival Denver in the divisional round.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers may have had his finest season as a pro, completing just under 70 percent of his passes for almost 4,500 yards, with 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. And with RB Ryan Mathews healthy for the full season the Chargers averaged 123 yards per game on the ground.
This year San Diego will play the fourth-toughest schedule in the league, based on last year's cumulative winning percentages. The Bolts have eight games against teams that made the playoffs last year, including five games against the last four teams to play in the Super Bowl.
2014 San Diego Chargers Opponents: Road Schedule
At Denver: These teams met three times last year, splitting the two regular-season games (each winning on the other's home field), before the Broncos beat the Chargers in a divisional-round playoff game at Mile High. San Diego put on one of its best efforts of last season on a Thursday night in Denver last December, thoroughly outplaying the Broncos in a 27-20 victory, winning straight up as a 10-point underdog.
At Kansas City: San Diego has won 11 of the last 13 meetings with the Chiefs, including series sweeps the last two seasons. Last year the Chargers trailed most of the way at Arrowhead, but Rivers hit Seyi Ajirotuta (who caught three balls all year) in the corner of the end zone with half a minute to go for a 41-38 victory, winning straight up as three-point dogs. These teams have met 108 times in the past, including a couple of times when the Chargers were based in Los Angeles and the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans.
At Oakland: The Raiders have finished 4-12 the last two seasons, but one of their victories last year came in this spot, that 27-17 win over the Chargers that didn't end until almost midnight local time. Oakland has been active over the offseason, adding, among others, QB Matt Schaub, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR James Jones and DE Justin Tuck.
At Buffalo: The Bills have gone 6-10 each of the last three seasons, and they still haven't made the playoffs since losing the Music City Miracle game back in 1999. These two AFL originals have met only 36 times in 60 seasons, with San Diego winning three of the last four contests. The Chargers played five games in the Eastern time zone last year, going 3-2 both SU and ATS.
At Miami: These teams just met last November also in South Florida, a 20-16 San Diego defeat. The Chargers out-gained the Dolphins that day by 100 yards, but they lost straight up as two-point favorites on the road. Just in case, maybe the Bolts should bring Kellen Winslow along as an honorary captain this time.
At Arizona: This might be a fun one to watch. These two teams also meet in the 2014 exhibition season, which is somewhat unusual these days in the NFL. The Cardinals went 10-6 last year and were the only team to finish above .500 and miss the playoffs. Arizona's defense ranked No. 5 overall and No. 1 vs. the run last season. San Diego has beaten the Cardinals three times in a row, most recently in a 41-10 decision in 2010.
At San Francisco: These two teams also meet in the 2014 preseason. These two Golden State franchises have met only 13 times before in the regular season, the most recent encounter a 34-7 Chargers win in 2010. San Diego went 7-3 ATS as an underdog last year and will probably be a dog for this one, although not a big one.
At Baltimore: These teams have met nine times in the past, most recently a 16-13 San Diego loss two seasons ago. The Ravens won the Super Bowl that season, then missed the playoffs last year. Rivers has gone against Joe Flacco three times in the NFL, losing twice.
2014 San Diego Chargers Opponents: Home Schedule
Denver: These founding AFL franchises have met 109 times in the past, including the first-ever postseason meeting last January. The Chargers are 1-4 SU but 3-2 ATS against the Broncos since they got Peyton Manning, which includes a 28-20 loss in this spot last season.
Kansas City: Four of the last six meetings in this series have been decided by exactly three points, including a 27-24 Chargers victory in overtime in this spot last January that sent San Diego to the playoffs. KC sat a lot of starters that day because it was already locked into its playoff position but still gave the Bolts all they could handle, and more. These teams are likely to play two more close games this season as well.
Oakland: San Diego has won four of the last five in this series, including a 26-13 victory in this spot last year. The Chargers are also 12-4 SU against the Raiders with Rivers at quarterback. These two AFL originals have met 109 times in the past, including the infamous "Holy Roller" game back in 1978 and a 34-27 Oakland victory in the AFC Championship Game three years later, both at the Murph.
New England: The Chargers with Rivers are just 1-5 SU against the Patriots, including that tough 21-12 loss at Foxboro in the AFC Championship Game in 2008. San Diego went 5-3 both SU and ATS at home last year, while New England only went 4-4 SU and 2-6 ATS on the road.
New York Jets: The last time these teams met in San Diego, the Jets, a 9-7 team, upset the 13-3 Chargers 17-14 in an AFC divisional-round playoff game in 2010. Mark Sanchez quarterbacked for New York that day, but he's now gone, replaced by Michael Vick. Since that game the Jets are 0-2 both SU and ATS on the West Coast.
Seattle: These two teams will also meet in the preseason before playing a regular-season game. The Seahawks and Chargers were divisional rivals for 24 seasons until Seattle flew the coop for the NFC back in 2002. Since then the teams have met only three times, most recently a 27-20 San Diego defeat in 2010. The Super Bowl champs are known for their home-field advantage, but they also went 6-2 both SU and ATS on the road last year.
St. Louis: The Rams went 7-9 playing in the toughest division in football last year, and they've got the second pick in the upcoming NFL draft. But they had troubles on the road last year, going 2-6 both SU and ATS. These two franchises, who once shared a city and a stadium all those years ago in Los Angeles, have only met 10 times previously in the regular season, most recently a 20-17 Chargers loss in 2010. San Diego went 2-1 ATS last year when favored by a touchdown or more.
Jacksonville: These teams just met last October in North Florida, a dominating 24-6 Chargers victory and cover as seven-point favorites. San Diego ran for 158 yards that day and held the ball for over 37 minutes. The Jaguars started 0-8 last year, then they won four of their next five games before losing their last three. But three of their four wins came on the road, and they managed to go 4-4 ATS on the hotel circuit.
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