There has been a lot of talk this week about the games this weekend. Sometimes it has come from football analysts and journalists, a lot has come from the Chargers. I think the most telling piece this week came from Fox Sports journalist Adam Schein. Unlike others, who worried about the Charger injuries or dissected Charger trash talking or waxed poetic about all aspects of the Patriots, Schein brought up some key points about the Chargers chance against the Pats. Essentially it points down to one fact: the chargers have no chance to win if their defense doesn't show up for the gain.
When you look at the Chargers as a team on paper, they seem like they should be one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. Their offense is anchored to one of the best running backs in NFL history and a #1 picked QB who has no reason to be anything but stellar. They have some solid receivers and a sturdy O-Line. Yet anyone who has followed them this season knows that Charger offense is not why they have had success. Everything this team does comes from the success of the defense. The Charger defense is full of pro-bowlers or former pro-bowlers, and it has destroyed some of the best offenses in the league this year (esp. Payton Manning, who they stopped 4 times last weekend within 20 yards of a touchdown). They have stopped the run, broken up solid pass plans, and forced turnover after turnover.
As Shein pointed out so poignantly, the chargers have no chance if their defense does play stellar. If the Chargers defense doesn't continue its strong play, it really doesn't matter if Rivers of LT even play--the charger won't have a chance.
But do they have a chance? I think there is a possibility, but it is closing quickly. The reason I say that is partly due to injuries, cuz let's face it the Chargers will have to score to win. Yet my concern has to due with something entirely different. I think the Chargers will be hard pressed to win largely because they can't seem to keep their mouths shut. For a team who threw tantrums last year of trash talking and disrespect, the Chargers this year have shown themselves to be a group with very little class. Every day this week, there has been at least one sound bite of a Charger talking trash--and sadly most are coming from Rivers and LT.
Now I am not diametrically opposed to trash talking, as I know it can serve a purpose and I have even done it myself a time or two (BTW--Whose the Champ this year, Aaron?), but when you have a history of crying out about it, particularly in regards to your current opponent, then you should be wise enough to keep your mouth shut. Besides, do the chargers really want to piss the Pats off? They probably have little chance of winning this game as it is, so do they want to antagonize the Pats into completely destroying them? Probably not a good idea, but it also gets to another matter. Despite all of their talk of respect, integrity, and class, it is clear that too many of the stars on the chargers team just don't have any of those things. And this is a serious discrepancy, because those points of character are also the basis of heart and guts and determination--three things the Chargers are going to need a lot of if they are actually going beat the Pats this weekend. We will see how the game plays out...