I feel like Homer Simpson.
Finally, right? On Saturday July 30, the San Diego Chargers will open up camp at Chargers Park.
But we’re still 14 days away. So in the meantime, I’ve decided to make 14 bold predictions (one each day) for the 2016 Chargers. Let’s begin with No. 14.
Bold Prediction No. 14: Philip Rivers will set career-high for touchdown passes
I’m extremely confident in this one. As of now, his career-high is 34, which was set in 2008. He’s been close, finishing with 32, 31 and 29 touchdowns in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. The 2013 season marked the closest he’s come to passing 34 touchdowns, the year in which Ken Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator. Fortunately for Rivers, Whisenhunt is back with the Chargers for the 2016 season.
Reigniting the running game will be key. In 2008, LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for over 1,000 yards on 292 carries and tallied 11 touchdowns (12 total). They committed to the run, especially with Brandon Manumaleuna (11 starts) teaming up with a 28-year-old Antonio Gates in two-tight end sets to help block. An improved running game will only help Rivers pass 34, so let’s hope the offensive line can stay healthy enough to lead the way for Melvin Gordon (who also needs to prove himself) and the rest of what is a solid group of backs.
Along with a solid running game, Rivers had Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Chris Chambers–and, of course, Gates in 2008. The team ranked second in points scored that year. Eight years later, the trio of Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Stevie Johnson (or perhaps Tyrell Williams!?) excites me even more. Oh, and Gates is still hanging around and competing at a high level. The addition of second-round pick Hunter Henry is the icing on the cake. Henry, who was considered the best all-around tight end in the draft, will look to make a big impact in both the passing and running game.
This prediction is very realistic considering the offense will be more balanced with Whisenhunt back. Hopefully, they can score more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals this year. With the plethora of talent surrounding Rivers, I have no doubts about that.