Opponent preview: Chargers have everything but a ring
Look at the NFL’s list of top 10 winning percentages over the past decade, and there are few surprises.
There’s the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. There are Super Bowl winners — the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants. There is the team Peyton Manning quarterbacks, the Denver Broncos. And there is the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s a predictable list, but one team easily gets lost in the shuffle. That would be the San Diego Chargers, whose .598 winning percentage (101-68) since 2005 ranks sixth in the league. There’s a good reason the Chargers go unnoticed. They’re one of two teams on the list that hasn’t made a Super Bowl in the past 10 years, along with the Cowboys.
Postseason success has been fleeting, but the Chargers have been consistent during the regular season. Though they’ve missed the playoffs four of the past five years, they’ve only finished with a losing record once since 2005 (7-9 in 2012).
All signs point to a challenging test when the Chargers arrive at Lambeau Field on Oct. 18. Here’s what to expect.
Three things to know about the Chargers
» The real McCoy: Mike McCoy could use a good year. Not that the Chargers coach has had bad years since being hired in 2013. A lot of teams could stomach consecutive 9-7 records. But these are the Chargers, and failing to make the postseason doesn’t go over well in sunny San Diego. It’s probably premature to call McCoy’s seat hot, but a third straight season ending without a playoff run wouldn’t look good. We’ll just say McCoy could use a good year.
» Cry me a river: Philip Rivers, the temperamental Alabama native, has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks since he became a starter in 2006. Need proof? He’s more than 30 games above .500 (88-56). On the active list, he ranks fifth with 252 touchdowns, sixth with 36,655 passing yards, and fifth with a 95.7 passer rating. Not bad in an era of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and, of course, Aaron Rodgers. But Rivers has never won a Super Bowl, and until he has a ring, zero is the only number that will matter. With Rivers turning 34 years old in December, time is running out.
» Bags packed: Oddly, the Packers face all three teams this season that have been rumored to potentially be moving to Los Angeles: the Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders. There have been no announcements, but plenty of noise to believe the Chargers could relocate. Earlier this month, a meeting was held between Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, Chargers owner Dean Spanos, and Raiders owner Mark Davis. It begs the question, when the Chargers return to the schedule in 2019, will the road trip be to Los Angeles or San Diego?
Packers schedule glimpse
Week before: Rams, Oct. 1
Next week: bye week, Oct. 25
On the horizon: at Denver, Nov. 1
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San Diego Chargers
Coach: Mike McCoy (18-14, third season)
2014 record: 9-7, 3rd AFC West
Scoring offense: 21.8 points per game (17th in NFL)
Total offense: 341.6 yards per game (18th)
Scoring defense: 21.8 points allowed per game (T-13th)
Total defense: 338.3 yards allowed per game (9th)
Series: Packers lead 9-1 (never met in postseason)
Last meeting: When the Packers needed to outscore their opponent during the 2011 season, they usually did. That was the case when they traveled to San Diego on Nov. 6 of that season. The Packers won 45-38 in a game that included 11 total touchdowns. The Packers twice separated themselves for big leads, including a 45-24 edge with 10 minutes left, but the Chargers scored the game’s final two touchdowns to stage a comeback attempt. Their comeback ended with Phillip Rivers’ third interception.