Could this be the final year that the Chargers play their home games in San Diego? It certainly might be as there will be at least one team in Los Angeles in 2016, and the Bolts are contending with the Raiders and Rams to get there. The NFL will consider relocation proposals in January. San Diego officials this week proposed a stadium vote on Dec. 15. The Chargers have been trying to get a new stadium for years. Obviously, they prefer not to pay for it. It's not yet clear how much public money would be involved in a stadium deal, but the task force plan includes more than $400 million in taxpayer contributions. The ballot measure would need approval from a simple majority of voters.
I don't think other NFL owners will vote to allow the Chargers to leave San Diego if that passes. Reportedly QB Philip Rivers doesn't want to move his rather large family to L.A. and that's why he and the team haven't agreed on an extension. His contract is up after this season. That's also why you heard those trade rumors of Rivers to Tennessee for the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft. The Bolts supposedly loved Marcus Mariota.
The Chargers were 5-3 at home, 3-5 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under" last year. Their 2015 home schedule ranks as the 18th-toughest in the NFL with an opponents' 2014 combined winning percentage of .516. That is the easiest in the AFC West, however.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 13 -- Lions (+2.5): The Chargers had opened on a Monday night the previous three seasons. I wonder if there will be anything special done at Qualcomm Stadium since this could be the final home opener there. First meeting between these teams since an easy Lions home victory in December 2011. Key trend: Chargers are 5-5 ATS in past 10 at home vs. NFC.
Oct. 4 -- Browns (+6): This comes after trips to Cincinnati and Minnesota for San Diego. Cleveland is home to Oakland in Week 3. The Browns haven't played in San Diego since 2006. Last meeting was perhaps the worst game of the 2012 season, a 7-6 Browns home win. Key trend: Chargers 3-7 ATS in past 10 at home vs. AFC North.
Oct. 12 -- Steelers (+1): This is a Monday night game. Pittsburgh will have extra time to prepare as it hosts Baltimore on a Thursday in Week 4. Chargers won last meeting, 34-24 in Pittsburgh in December 2012. Steelers haven't visited since 2006. Key trend: Chargers have covered just one of past 10 as a home favorite of 3 points or fewer.
Oct. 25 -- Raiders (+8): San Diego comes off a trip to Green Bay in Week 6, while Oakland is off its bye week. Chargers beat the visiting Raiders 31-28 in Week 6 last season, their fifth straight win at the time. Branden Oliver scored on a 1-yard run with 1:56 to play, and Jason Verrett sealed it with an interception with 1:13 left. Rivers had one of his best games of the season, throwing for 313 yards and three scores. Oliver rushed 26 times for 101 yards and a score. Key trend: Chargers 10-0 SU in past 10 at home as a favorite of at least 7.5 points (5-5 ATS).
Nov. 9 -- Bears (+4): This is also a Monday nighter and comes before the Chargers' bye week. San Diego is in Baltimore the previous Sunday, while Chicago is home to Minnesota. Chargers have lost five of the past six meetings with the Bears but haven't played them since 2011 in Chicago. Key trend: Chargers 5-5 ATS in past 10 games before a bye (any location).
Nov. 22 -- Chiefs (+2.5): As noted, San Diego is off its bye, while Kansas City is in Denver in Week 10. The Chargers' five-game winning streak last season ended in Week 7 at home to the Chiefs, 23-20, on a 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. Rivers was 17-for-31 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Gates caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Rivers late in the first half. It was the 67th career TD pass from Rivers to Gates, the most in league history from a quarterback to a tight end. Key trend: Chargers 3-7 ATS in past 10 after a bye (any location).
Dec. 6 -- Broncos (pick'em): San Diego is off a trip to Jacksonville in Week 12, and Denver hosts New England the previous Sunday night. The Chargers lost 22-0 to the visiting Broncos in Week 15 last year. Rivers was 24-for-41 for 232 yards, a touchdown and two picks. That score was to Gates, who tied Rob Gronkowski as the only tight ends in NFL history with four seasons with at least 10 touchdown catches. Key trend: I'm going to guess the Bolts are dogs when this rolls around as long as Peyton Manning is healthy. Key trend: Chargers 5-5 ATS in past 10 as a home dog.
Dec. 20 -- Dolphins (+3): San Diego is off a trip to Kansas City in Week 14 and then closes at Oakland and at Denver. The Dolphins will be on a short week, hosting the Giants on Monday in Week 14. Easily San Diego's worst game last season was a 37-0 pummeling at Miami in Week 9. The Chargers were shut out for the first time since 1999, and it was their worst loss since 1996. Rivers passed for only 138 yards, lost a fumble and had three picks. His quarterback rating of 31.0 was his lowest since 2007. Rivers' team-record streak of at least one touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games ended. Key trend: Over/under is 1-9 in Bolts' past 10 at home vs. AFC East.
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