Michael Lombardo: I believe the Chargers are ready to go on a roll. Remember, this is a team that loves to streak. Last season, the Bolts ripped off eight consecutive wins, including the postseason. In 2006, they finished the regular season with 10 straight wins. They also had winning streaks of five games in 2005 and eight games in 2004. The schedule seems set up for another similar spurt. A win in Miami would improve San Diego's winning streak to three games. In Week 6, the Chargers host the Tom Brady-less Patriots in a game the Chargers will be highly motivated to win, having been bounced from the playoffs by the Patriots in each of the last two seasons. If the Chargers can survive tough road games in Weeks 7 and 8 against the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints (played in London), they will then play four of their next five games at home.
Q. What do you make of Norv Turner, former Dolphins offensive coordinator, as a head coach?
ML: The Chargers are a different team under Norv Turner -- which is a good thing and a bad thing. The Chargers are playing with extreme confidence under Turner and seem to bring their best in the biggest moments -- an element that was always lacking under Marty Schottenheimer's leadership. However, the Chargers are far less consistent under Turner than they were under Schottenheimer. The 2008 Chargers feel they should be 4-0, but they could just as easily be 1-3. This team has been slow getting out of the gates, which has led to some devastating upsets, such as losing to the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 1. Also, last season's upset losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Viking never would have happened under Schottenheimer's watch. To sum it up, Turner's Chargers are better equipped to win in the playoffs, but Schottenheimer was better equipped to get a team into the playoffs.
Q. Give us your prediction, and a quick explanation why?
ML: I believe the Chargers will come from behind (again) to pull out a 30-23 victory. I expect the Dolphins will be aggressive and start fast on offense, using a series of trick plays and untraditional alignments developed over the bye week. That, combined with Miami's pressure defense, should send the Dolphins into the locker room with the lead. However, the Chargers are among the NFL's best teams in terms of making halftime adjustments, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I think Ted Cottrell's defense will put the clamps down in the second half, likely forcing a couple turnovers and putting the offense in good position to win the game late.