Chargers, best in the AFC?

The San Diego Chargers are the best team in the AFC. Some pundits are already claiming that to be the case. San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan isn't one of them.

"No. I think San Diego is one of the better teams we will play this year, but then again, the season changes as you go along."

Hearing that from the opposition, however, is where true validation comes.

The San Diego Chargers season was marred by their loss to Baltimore, a game that was clearly winnable. But as Marty Schottenheimer said on Sunday after the game, "there are no redo's."

"I think the loss against Baltimore really motivated this team even more," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.

To be fair, the Ravens were the only team they have played that had a winning record.

While the Chargers are crushing the opposition with regularity, the wins are coming over teams in the basement or those that are still in the process of rebuilding.

San Francisco has certainly shown signs of reviving their program but remain a work in progress.

If the Chargers aspirations fall nothing short of the Super Bowl, they should be beating these teams.

Credit the squad for making each of their wins look easy along the way.

And that is where the ‘best team in the AFC' is coming from. It isn't that the Chargers are winning; they are winning big and humiliating teams along the way.

And both sides of the ball are contributing equally. "Their offensive coordinator is so smart and when you think they're playing something, they're probably playing something else," 49ers cornerback Sammy Davis said.

"(Philip Rivers) threw the ball like an NFL quarterback," 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer said. "He had a great game and my hat goes off to him. They did a great job. They executed their offense. They did what they had to do and we didn't. It's as simple as that. We knew coming in that they were a very explosive offense. They have a lot of weapons, so we knew coming in that we had our work cut out for us.

"They are a good group on the other side of the ball and we definitely gave them a run for it for awhile," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said.

"We like to think we're the best front in the league," linebacker Shaun Phillips said.

While they swept past San Francisco, the Bolts will play some tougher competition over the next few weeks.

Kansas City is a divisional rival and the game takes place in Arrowhead. St. Louis is rolling under a new coach and narrowly missed beating Seattle this weekend. Cincinnati is on tap in four weeks and then they will travel to Denver to face the Broncos in what could have an impact on the divisional race.

"In our business it's not always, ‘what have you done for me lately,' it's, ‘what are you going to do for me next?' We have a good football team and we just have to keep grinding away at what we're doing," Schottenheimer put eloquently.

‘Best in the AFC?' Maybe this week. But as Nolan noted, much like the college football polls, things change. They have to continue the assault to be the best in the AFC when it matters – January.


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