Chargers 2006 schedule released

The San Diego Chargers 2006 schedule is highlighted with a nationally-televised game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, Oct. 8 at Qualcomm Stadium.

The game will be featured on NBC's Sunday Night Football with a 5:15 p.m. PDT kickoff. The Chargers-Steelers game is a rematch of the 2005 Monday Night Football game played on Oct. 10 that was won by Pittsburgh, 24-22, on a field goal with six seconds left in the fourth quarter. It will mark the third time in the last four seasons the Bolts and Steelers have met in a regular-season game.

As was previously announced, San Diego will open the '06 season on the road, also before a national-television audience, facing the Oakland Raiders at the McAfee Coliseum on Monday night, Sept. 11. The season-opener will be the second game of an ESPN Monday Night Football double-header, with kickoff scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT from Oakland.

The Chargers 2006 home opener is scheduled for Week 2 at Qualcomm Stadium. On Sunday, Sept. 17, the Chargers will play host to the Tennessee Titans of the AFC South for a 1:15 p.m. PDT kickoff. These two squads met in Week 4 of the 2004 season at Qualcomm Stadium and the Chargers crushed the Titans, 38-17. That victory started a run in which the Bolts won 10-of-11, en route to capturing their first AFC West title since 1994.

After playing host to the Titans, the Chargers will have a bye in Week 3 (Sept. 24-25). It is the earliest the team has had its bye week since 2001, when the Bolts were off for Week 2 of the league season. Two other AFC West teams, Oakland and Kansas City, will also have their byes during Week 3, while Denver is slated to have its bye in Week 4.

The Chargers will return to the gridiron from the bye on Oct. 1 to kick off a month that will take the Bolts on the road for three of its first four games. The Oct. 1 game sees the Bolts face the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium for a 10:00 a.m. PDT kickoff. The following week (Oct. 8), the Bolts will return home for the above-mentioned game versus the Steelers before embarking on a two-game road trip. That road trip kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 15 with a trip to Northern California to face the San Francisco 49ers. It will be the Chargers first regular-season game in San Francisco since 1997. Kickoff for the Chargers-49ers game is 1:15 p.m. PDT. The back end of the road trip features the Bolts' annual trip to Kansas City to face the Chiefs, where the Chargers will look for their second win in the last three seasons and payback for last year's 20-7 loss that officially knocked the Bolts out of the playoffs.

The month of October concludes with the Chargers opening a two-game home-stand. It includes an Oct. 29 home date with the St. Louis Rams and a kickoff slated for 1:05 p.m. PST. The Rams, who regularly face the Chargers in the preseason, will be making their first regular-season visit to San Diego since the Chargers' 1994 Super Bowl season. The back-half of the home-stand sees the Bolts welcoming the Cleveland Browns to San Diego on Nov. 5. The 1:15 p.m. PST kickoff marks Cleveland's first visit to Southern California since 1999. The Chargers have won five of their last six over the Browns, including a 21-0 win at Cleveland in 2004 that allowed the Chargers to clinch the AFC West title.

San Diego's two-game home-stand leads directly into the team's second two-game road trip of the season. The Chargers are sure to be put to the test both weeks as they face a pair of defending division champions. They will face the AFC North's defending champion, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Nov. 12 (10 a.m. PST) at Paul Brown Stadium and the AFC West's defending champion, the Denver Broncos, on Nov. 19 (1:15 p.m. PST) at Invesco Field.

The month of November will conclude with the Chargers playing host to the Raiders in a rematch of the '06 season opener. Kickoff for the Raiders game at Qualcomm Stadium is slated for 1:05 p.m. PST. The Chargers come into the 2006 season having won five-straight over their arch-rivals from the Bay Area.

The final month of the season begins with a road trip to Buffalo, New York, where the Chargers will face the Bills on Dec. 3. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. PST. The weather figures to be cold as the Bolts make their first venture to Upstate New York since 2002. The Bolts and Bills met last year at Qualcomm Stadium with the Chargers crushing Buffalo by a score of 48-10.

Following the Bills' game, the Chargers will close out the season with three of their last four games at Qualcomm Stadium. It starts with a two-game home-stand against a pair of division rivals. The first is a rematch with the Broncos on Dec. 10 (1:15 p.m. PST) and the second is a rematch with the Chiefs on Dec. 17 (1:05 p.m. PST). On Dec. 24, the Chargers will face the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks on Christmas Eve at Qwest Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. PST. It marks the second-consecutive year that the Chargers will have played both of the previous season's Super Bowl participants (Steelers and Seahawks). In 2005, the Chargers beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and lost to the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. This is the Chargers' first regular-season visit to Seattle since 2001 and their first-ever regular-season game at Qwest Field.

The 2006 regular season will conclude on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) in San Diego when the Bolts host the Arizona Cardinals at 1:15 p.m. The improving Cardinals feature newly-acquired running back Edgerrin James from the Indianapolis Colts. Arizona will be playing its first regular-season game in San Diego since 2001. This is the second-consecutive year that the Chargers will have closed out the regular season at home on New Year's Eve.

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