This team is also vastly different than the team that lost to New York in week two.
But that is something everyone who has been watching knows – but for the fans in New York who are sheltered by the media conglomerate and ten newspapers vying for print, the tale will be told.
The Chargers were 1-2 after their loss to New York but they rebounded quite nicely and developed some interesting traits along the way.
"We were able to get it done each week on Sunday's, developing our identity, developing a premiere tight end, having a premiere running back who operated at 80 percent all year," left tackle Roman Oben said. "Having a defense that plays well under the scheme. It's amazing. The eight game winning streak has established our confidence."
Drew Brees, Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson each had Pro Bowl seasons. But in week two, besides Tomlinson, they were barely scratching the surface. Gates hadn't caught a single one of his NFL record 13 touchdowns by a tight end at the end of week two. Brees had three touchdowns and two interceptions on the year when the game ended.
We all know how that scene of the play has turned out.
Now the Chargers are planning their revenge tour:
"I wouldn't say revenge," quarterback Drew Brees said. "The fact that they did beat us, we want to keep going. You are in the playoffs now. You are playing for keeps. It is single elimination from here on out. We want to move on so we have to beat them.
"We have something special going. We know it is one step at a time but we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish in the regular season but we are still at the very beginning. We have four in a row right now, the Jets are first."
Besides the obvious differences, the team comes into Saturday's game well-rested and healthy. Tomlinson is running like a man possessed and many players were given the day off last Sunday against Kansas City.
The Jets, meanwhile, lost a heartbreaker in overtime and have to travel, they arrived in San Diego on Thursday.
Some will say there is rust on the Chargers' armor but a playoff game does not allow for that. Despite many starters warming benches last week, they are all ready for the game this week.
"I feel well rested whether I played every snap or not," Brees said in reference to sitting out last week. "This is what we have worked so hard to get to, this opportunity. It doesn't matter if you are tired or whatever, it is time to go. Suck it up and go.
The rest of the group feels the same. Veterans are carrying torches for the younger players to follow behind and perhaps literally as the team practiced under the lights on Thursday.
Going 12-4 during the season was inspirational and surely drove up the confidence of the team but the season isn't over – especially if their focus wavers.
"It is always nice going to the playoffs," said linebacker Donnie Edwards. "That was one of our goals. That is one of our goals that we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season. Here is a goal that we set out and we got it. AFC West Divisional Champs. Our next goal is the Super Bowl. It is a four game season now. It is a totally new season. We are ready to go.
"When one goal is achieved you set another one."
The goal may be the Super Bowl but the players still stick to head coach Marty Schottenheimer's ‘one game at a time' rhetoric. There is no other choice. Losses at this time mean the team will head to their homes and leave the bright lights of the "Q" behind.
"This team feels confident and we are ready to go," offensive guard Mike Goff said in reference to getting some rest on Sunday. "It is a good feeling and we want to get ready for this week."
"There is no rest," Edwards warned. "We have a game on Saturday. A lot of the guys are fresh. They didn't play too much so they are ready to go."
San Diego wide receiver-kick returner Tim Dwight owns the NFL's highest playoff kick-return average (34.3) for a career (minimum 10 returns). Dwight makes his playoff debut in a Chargers uniform this postseason. Dwight is one of 18 players in playoff history to return a kickoff for a touchdown (Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXIII).
Chargers confident and rested
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