Closing in on No. 1

San Diego has an entertaining habit of making fourth-quarter comebacks, with four already in the books this season. It will have to play pretty poorly this Sunday to have an opportunity for a fifth. Although Arizona has a descent amount of talent and has been playing better over the last six weeks, the Cardinals should be no match for the Chargers.

"it's one game to determine if everything is coming through San Diego," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "I don't think there is any reason for a letdown. We're playing at home and obviously the place will be cranked up."

Arizona's biggest weapons are its two otherworldly receivers, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Those two could wreak havoc on the San Diego secondary, were it not for the fact that Kurt Warner is set to start at quarterback. It is hard to imagine Warner, essentially a statue in the pocket, avoiding a torrid Chargers pass rush that has already generated a league-leading 60 sacks.

That doesn't leave the Cardinals a lot of options for pressuring the Chargers. The Arizona rushing attack scares opponents about as much as a kitten in a Christmas stocking.

And the Cardinals defense should have its hands full, just not full of any Chargers ball-carriers. Only two teams allow more points per game than the Cardinals, while no team scores more than the Chargers.

It's too bad for Arizona that the Chargers weren't able to lock up homefield advantage prior to this weekend's showdown. San Diego could have then rested its starters and leveled Sunday's playing field.

The Chargers now have too much to play for to allow a letdown. Not only is the top seed in the AFC still up for grabs, but the Chargers also hope to get Philip Rivers back on track after his up-and-down performances over the last five weeks. Also, the offensive line will be determined to sponsor one more big day by LaDainian Tomlinson, as he closes in on his first rushing title.

This is not to imply the Cardinals will go down without a fight. Arizona has won four of its last six games and would love to carry that momentum into the offseason. Also, the Cardinals may be playing for coach Dennis Green's job, and the general sentiment is that the players would like their skipper back for another season.

"We have got to win," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer. "The numbers indicate that they are playing pretty good right now. They are much improved over the beginning of the season."

Additionally, the two weeks in the season most prone to big upsets are the first and last ones. There are so many upsets in week one because offseason turnover makes for unpredictable game plans. Week 17 is typically loaded with upsets as well, as disappointing teams strive to take down contenders in order to prove themselves better than their meager records.

However, there are numerous reasons the Chargers are 13-2 and the Cardinals but 5-10. Those reasons should be illuminated by the bright lights at Qualcomm come Sunday.

"We are playing at home - it is important for us to finish strong and everyone on our team realizes that," said linebacker Donnie Edwards. "We will go 8-0 at home and get homefield throughout which is important for our city and our team.

"It is all about now to dedicate all of our time and energy."

SD Super Chargers Top Stories