Primetime Opener: Pressure on Bolts

For the second time in the last four years, the San Diego Chargers will open the regular season on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. But things will be much different this time around. The pressure is squarely on Norv Turner & Co.

At first glance, the Raiders would appear to be the perfect opening opponent for the Chargers. San Diego has defeated its in-state rivals 11 consecutive times, tied for the longest streak of dominance in the NFL (the Pittsburgh Steelers have beaten the Cleveland Browns 11 straight times, as well).

However, the Raiders' new tradition of incompetence puts even more pressure on the Bolts. San Diego has a trend of stumbling out of the gates under Norv Turner's guidance, and a loss to Oakland on opening night -- in front of a national audience, no less -- would reinforce the idea that Turner cannot lead a consistent team.

During Turner's first year leading the Chargers in 2007, the team started 1-3. In 2008, San Diego began 0-2 before falling all the way to 4-8. A loss to the Raiders in the 2009 Opener would bring up a bad case of déjà vu amongst the Chargers faithful.

An upset may not be as unlikely as some Chargers fans would like to believe.

Even with the Raiders struggling as of late, they have often played the Chargers tough. During last year's game in Oakland, the Raiders led 15-0 at halftime before eventually falling, 28-18.

If Norv Turner's current team loses to his former team on Monday Night Football, fans will clamor for the Chargers to be added to Turner's former-teams list.


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