Chargers have to win at home

The Chargers should be happy. It may not be as tough as they had hoped to prove any doubters wrong but with a new quarterback they needed the break.

The NFL schedule-makers might have done the Chargers a favor.

A year after facing the league's toughest slate of games, the Chargers could be looking at a fast start.

They open at Oakland against the 4-12 Raiders. Next is the home opener against the Titans, fresh from a 4-12 disaster.

There's a Week 3 bye, then a matchup the Ravens, a 6-10 finisher last year.

"That is the only thing about the schedule that is not pleasing, that early bye week," Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "That means we are going to have to play 14 games straight without a bye and then, maybe, right into the playoffs.

"Hopefully, we get another bye then, after the regular season."

That would mean wrestling the AFC West crown from the Broncos. The Chargers have won one division title since 1995.

The schedule does offer some cold-weather games in the second half. The Chargers will have to play at Cincinnati, Denver, Buffalo and Seattle after Nov. 11.

"That's going to be pretty fun," Tomlinson said. "It's a first for me, four cold games like that."

The Chargers will be left out in the cold again unless they right their mark at Qualcomm Stadium. The team went 4-4 at home last year, which was among the key reasons it missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years.

This year's home schedule includes only two 2005 playoff teams in the world champions Steelers and the Broncos.


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