San Diego's season hung in the balance as it prepared for a Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Distractions surrounded the Chargers as everyone wanted to talk about New York's quarterback, since it was Eli Manning's first game against the team he jilted in the 2004 NFL draft.
HC Norv Turner
Although Norv Turner wasn't around for the 2005 game, he can only hope the 2008 Chargers respond in similar fashion. The Chargers get another primetime game against a New York foe -- this time it's the Jets on Monday Night -- and must win to restore order to a season that started with Super Bowl potential.
Again, the spotlight with be on the New York quarterback. The Brett Favre-led Jets trail the New England Patriots by one game in the AFC East, and the Patriots play a rebuilding Miami Dolphins team this weekend. If the Jets lose in San Diego, they'll likely fall two games behind in the NFL's most hyped divisional race.
The Chargers have their own problems to worry about; namely, finding a way to build an early lead against the Jets. The Chargers fell behind against the Carolina Panthers, 19-10, and against the Broncos, 21-3. The Bolts cannot count only climbing out of such a deficit against a Jets defense that ranks No. 8 in the NFL.
San Diego also must reestablish some semblance of homefield advantage. After going 8-1 in Qualcomm Stadium last season (including the playoffs), the Chargers are off to a 0-1 start in 2008.
Of course, no team is less intimidated by Qualcomm Stadium than the Jets. That stems from the 2004 campaign, when the Jets handed the Chargers their only home losses of the season. Those wins included a six-point victory in Week 2 and a three-point upset during the first round of the playoffs.
The Chargers are eager to prove they are better than the one-and-done team from 2004, and superior to the 2005 squad that finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs. They'll have a chance to state their case on Monday night.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.