Chargers 2009 Schedule: What to Watch For

The NFL announced the full 2009 schedule on Tuesday, so the San Diego Chargers now know the road they must conquer to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight season. The going gets tough early on, which will test the team's tendency for starting slow under Norv Turner.

The Chargers will be tested early in 2009. After playing the Season Opener on the road in prime time against the Oakland Raiders, San Diego will face three straight games against playoff teams from last season: the Baltimore Ravens, the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chargers will then enjoy an early bye in Week 5 before facing a run of divisional opponents, hosting the Denver Broncos and Raiders in Weeks 6 and 8, respectively, sandwiched around a road game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7.

The second half of the schedule doesn't get any easier and includes four games against the NFC East, one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.

Here's a game-by-game breakdown of what's to come:

Week 1: @ Oakland
The Bolts look to top their division rival for a 12th consecutive game.
Week 2: Baltimore
DC Ron Rivera will match wits against Ravens OC Cam Cameron, who held the same role with the Chargers from 2002-2006.
Week 3: Miami
The Chargers look to avenge last season's tough 17-10 loss in Miami.
Week 4: @ Pittsburgh
In a playoff rematch from last season, the Chargers will measure their progress against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Week 5: Bye

Week 6: Denver
This divisional matchup will have a much different feel without the Philip Rivers-Jay Cutler rivalry dominating the headlines.
Week 7: @ Kansas City
Even in a two-win season, the Chiefs gave the Chargers all they could handle in 2008. Both Chargers wins were decided by a single point.
Week 8: Oakland
Norv Turner gets one more chance to extract revenge against the team that unceremoniously dismissed him after the 2005 season.
Week 9: @ New York Giants
The Chargers face Eli Manning for the second time since he jilted the franchise in 2004. The Chargers won the first meeting in 2005, 45-23.
Week 10: Philadelphia
In their last meeting in 2005, the Eagles held LaDainian Tomlinson to a measly 7 yards on 17 carries (0.4 ypc).
Week 11: @ Denver
It's anyone's guess who will be under center for the Broncos in this game. Kyle Orton? Chris Simms? Mark Sanchez?
Week 12: Kansas City
In an unusual twist, the Chargers finish their division schedule with five games left to play.
Weel 13: @ Cleveland
Just like the Broncos game two weeks earlier, no one knows who'll be under center for the opposing team in this contest.
Week 14: @ Dallas
Norv Turner and Wade Phillips face off in a battle of two of the NFL's most maligned head coaches.
Week 15: Cincinnati
The last time these teams met in 2006, the Chargers and Bengals combined to put 90 points on the scoreboard.
Week 16: @ Tennessee
In a rematch from the 2007 playoffs, the Chargers will go toe-to-toe with the AFC's winningest team from last season (13-3).
Week 17: Washington
These team's last met in 2005, when Tomlinson ended the game with a 41-yard touchdown run in overtime.

What are your thoughts on the 2009 schedule? Talk about it in the message boards.

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