I had a revelation when I was in New York City last weekend: Being a sports fan on the east coast sucks. No wonder why there is an “east coast bias”. Aside from dealing with crappy weather nine months out of the year and the fact that as a collective group our women make their women look like a herd of cattle, it’s terrible following sports out there. I watched the Monday Night Colts-Jags game in Manhattan and the game didn’t end until it was almost midnight. How many people on the east coast do you think are staying up until midnight every Sunday and Monday night to watch football? “East Coast Bias” must be code for I fell asleep at halftime during the game.
Also, it’s easier to dedicate your Sunday to watching football out here. On a typical Sunday on the west coast, you wake up around 7, get out of bed between 8 and 9, watch some pre-game, eat breakfast, check your fantasy team, and football starts. You can dedicate the next 8 hours to drinking beers and watching football. You even have time after the game to go out to dinner or watch some TV. On the east coast you have to wait until 1:00 to watch football. That’s five hours of doing nothing to do until football starts. I feel like I’d get roped into doing things like going to brunch and then end up overeating or having too many mimosas and then watching the games half asleep and drunk. Also on the east coast the Sunday Night game is on the same time as Man Men, Family Guy, Cleveland Show and HBO shows Eastbound and Down and Boardwalk Empire. Of course you can record them, but if you have a wife or girlfriend who likes to watch a TV show on Sunday night, you’re missing some games. Compromise is a terrible thing.
So the next time you finding yourself complaining about why the Chargers are not getting enough love from ESPN remember that it’s not that they’re biased it’s that they’re probably not watching.
On to the questions:
What do you expect from Vincent Jackson the rest of the way?
Phil: As long as he doesn’t pull a hamstring (because players who hold out almost always get hurt when they come back) I think he can at the very least take the pressure off of Antonio Gates and the other receivers. There are some conspiracy theorists who think Jackson is going to mail it in these last 6 games. I wouldn’t put anything past a guy who thought it would be a good idea to holdout against AJ Smith when he had absolutely no leverage, but remember: Jackson is playing for a contract and money is a great motivator. As long as he stays healthy I expect big things from him.
Ernie: If Vincent Jackson is on the field, he will put up monster numbers. “King Midas” Philip Rivers is turning every receiver on his team into gold. Vincent Jackson has monster talent and you team that up with the monster that Rivers has become, the defenses should not have a chance against us. The offense will open up even more with Jackson on the field and the rest of the team getting healthy. Gates will be back and so will M80 Malcom Floyd and we are going to team that up with Jackson. I LOVE IT!
What are the early impressions of Ryan Matthews?
Phil: The red flags on Matthews are popping up faster than red flags on a crazy girl. His ceiling hasn’t changed — I still think he can be a Pro Bowl running back– but his floor has definitely gotten lower. It just may be the Chargers traded up and used the #12 pick on a broken tailback. Check out his injury history. Last year he missed 1 ½ games due to injury. In 2008 he missed five games with knee and foot problems and he sprained his knee in another game. And in 2007 he missed two games due to a muscle tear in his collarbone.
It’s still way too early, but that “injury-prone” tag is definitely creeping up on Matthews. He can definitely rebound from this; no one remembers that Michael Jordan missed most of his second season because of a broken foot. But running back is the most punishing position so there has to be some concern. He still has a chance to be a good one but until he shakes the injury bug we need to preface every comment about Matthew’s potential with the dreaded “if he stays healthy” caveat.
Ernie: I expected way too much from him early on. I thought he would come out and light the league on fire and challenge for the rookie of the year award. The kid still has the potential to be great, but he has to be a little more consistent and stay healthy. His longest run of the season has been 20 yards and we all are waiting for that breakout preformance. oh yea… HOLD ONTO THAT BALL!!!
“Philip Rivers for MVP” talk has been picking up this week. Will he win it?
Phil: I think he will. The Chargers have three more games in primetime (although if you read what I wrote earlier no one on the east coast will be watching) and in the last six weeks of the season Rivers will be throwing to Gates, Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson. The ducks are all lined up for Rivers and all he has to do is knock them down. Once Jackson is back their third, fourth and fifth options are going to be Patrick Crayton, Legedu Nannee and that Tu-Tu guy (Seyi Ajirotutu). That’s pretty incredible considering Rivers lit it up last week against the Texans when Crayton and Tu-Tu were his two best guys. If you consider this and look at their schedule, I think Rivers breaks Marino’s single-season passing record and as long as the Chargers make the playoffs he should get enough MVP votes even from the half asleep east coast voters.
Ernie: I think by the end of the year, Rivers will be the unanimous choice for MVP. We will have won 9 straight games and Rivers will have broken Marino’s passig yards record. How can you choose anybody else when you put up numbers like that. If the Chargers pull it all together and make it into the playoffs, then he should be the top candidate for MVP. He proved that he can carry the team on his back in the game against the Texans.
What’s the Chargers record the rest of the way?
Phil: They are going to run the table. There was an informing article in the Wall Street Journal this week that talked about the Chargers uncanny ability to turn it on at the end of the season. According to the article over the past five years the Chargers won 58% of their games during the first eight games of the season and 88% of their games in the last eight. It goes on to say:
“Among the NFL’s 30 teams, the Chargers have four of the 14 four-game, season-ending winning streaks over the last four years. Only the Pats have more than one such streak in the last four seasons (two, in 2007 and 2008). San Diego also has three of seven season-ending winning streaks of five games or more, and no other team has more than one. It also has three of five such streaks of six games or more, and two of three such streaks of 10 games or more (New England’s undefeated season in 2007 is the other).”
These guys have been taking us to hell and dragging us back over the past five seasons. Every season they’re like the underachieving kid who barely makes it into college and then excels when he gets there and ends up making more money than his high school buddies who went to better schools. I don’t see a reason for them to stop now.
Ernie: I see us making that trademark run that we do. I hate that we always have to rely on it, but I see the team pulling together and winning all 7 games. At the very least, we will win 6 of the 7 games. We have a couple of tough opponents, but if we expect to win this division we need to come through with the W’s! The toughest game will be against the Colts in Indianapolis. In this crazy NFL season though, any given Sunday a team can sneak up from behind and pull off a victory (look at the Browns). We will have to be at the top of our game and clean up the mess from our first half.
Who is the Chargers biggest threat Kansas City or Oakland?
Phil: You mean, other than themselves? I would say the Chargers biggest challenge to their AFC West crown is the Chiefs by virtue of schedule. Check them out:
The Chiefs go: at Denver, Arizona, at Seattle, Denver, at the Chargers, at St. Louis, Tennessee and then Oakland.
On the other hand Oakland’s schedule is brutal: at Pittsburg, Miami, at San Diego, at Jacksonville, Denver, Indy and at the Chiefs.
In other words Raider fans, your season peaked in an Week 9 overtime win against the Chiefs. Congratulations!
I think the better team of the 2 is the Oakland Raiders, BUT the biggest threat to take this division from us would be the Kansas City Chiefs. They have a much easier schedule in comparison to the Raiders. Check out the post I put up on NFL.com to see the schedule comparison for the rest of the season. The Chiefs have a solid running game and a pretty good defense and they are well coached (sounds like a team I hate in New York!). The Raiders still have a lot of though game coming up and will probably end up with a .500 record.