Charging Towards a New Era

The Los Angeles Chargers. Nearly a week after the Spanos family announced they would be taking their team to Los Angeles the name still does not seem quite right. Maybe that has something to do with the new logo that seems to appear every other day. While the fans of San Diego will be rightly upset that their Chargers are now gone, there is one big place they must look at when placing the blame on this relocation, themselves. They Chargers tried for years to get the city to assist in renovating or replacing the outdated Qualcomm Stadium, but to no avail. After many threats of relocation it has finally happened, and I believe the franchise could really benefit from the move.

The first reason relocation is going to benefit this organization is their selection of stadium. The Chargers will be playing at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California which is currently home to MLS club LA Galaxy. This stadium will be the smallest in the NFL with only about 30,000 seats, but this will be great for the atmosphere at games. This is because it is a true soccer facility which places the fans very close to the field and will make the stadium feel as if there are 80,000 people inside. Another advantage to fewer seats is that it creates more of a demand for the tickets which means they can charge more for them. The Stubhub Center is also a much newer facility which means it will keep fans happier at games even if the team is a train-wreck.

The next reason the move will be beneficial for the franchise is the location of Stubhub Center. Carson is in the suburbs of Los Angeles which will make travel to games easier than it would be to go see the Los Angeles Rams, still not used to this name despite it being almost a year, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which is inside the city. This makes even Thursday night games a better drive as you will not have to waste as much time to drive into the city for a game.

The final reason the move can be a successful one for the team is it presents the chance to rebrand the team. Now that the team is in a new city, it would seem like they could use a new name. For the last 57 years the Chargers name has been attributed to the San Diego area so one would think that to set themselves apart the franchise would select a new name and new colors. Part of a rebranding should include the on field product and that starts with the coach. Shortly after announcing their move, the Chargers also announced the hiring of Anthony Lynn to fil the vacancy at head coach. He is lucky in the sense that he has a franchise quarterback to build around, however Philip Rivers is aging and has shown that he can struggle at the end of seasons. This may lead to the drafting of a new quarterback in the near future. While it may not be an immediate replacement, a few years from now they will be happy they developed a young player instead of waiting until Rivers retires before bringing in a replacement.

While the transition will be difficult on fans to start with, the Chargers relocation to Los Angeles was the correct decision and ultimately will lead to greater success for the franchise.

2017 NFL Wildcard Predictions

As the 2017 NFL season comes to a close, we are left with twelve teams to fight for the right to call themselves Super Bowl Champions. While we already know that the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Atlanta Falcons will be playing during the second round, the battle is for the right to play against them. This weekend features the four matchups that will make up the Wildcard round.

Oakland Raiders v. Houston Texans:

This matchup features two teams with no true starting quarterback. Raiders MVP candidate Derek Carr left their Christmas Eve game with a broken leg and has been ruled out for this game. In his place steps Connor Cook, a rookie out of Michigan State with no career starts. He steps into the lineup against the top defense in the league, so if there ever was a time to impress the rest of the NFL it would be now. For the Texans, they have to go with their $70 million quarterback Brock Osweiler in this game as third year player Tom Savage is likely to be unavailable due to a concussion suffered in week 17. Osweiler, in his first year with the team, has been a substantial disappointment this season and many Texan fans will be worried with him under center. Even with the deficiencies at the most important position, I believe that the Texans defense will step it up and win the game.

Texans 13 – Raiders 9

Detroit Lions v. Seattle Seahawks:

Unlike the first matchup of wildcard weekend, the two teams featured in this game both have their franchise QBs and they are healthy to play. The way one of these teams  will win is by their defense outplaying the other. If this was a few years ago this thought would be laughable as the Seahawks would have had the upper hand, but this season their defense has looked quite vulnerable at times. The Lions pass defense has been a blessing for opposing offenses in recent weeks and unless some of their top corners can return from injury they have no chance of winning this game.

Seahawks 18 – Lions 17

Pittsburgh Steelers v. Miami Dolphins:

This game is a rematch of the week six meeting between these two teams. The Steelers defense has not looked good this season, and this culminated in week 17 when they nearly allowed the Cleveland Browns to come back and win. The big storyline in week six was their inability to stop the rushing attack generated by Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, and it will likely be the same as the Steelers are coming off a game where they let Browns running back Isaiah Crowell rush for 150 yards. Despite Ryan Tannehill being unlikely to play in this game, and even with the Steelers offensive unit fully healthy, there is not much of a chance for the Steelers to win this game.

Dolphins 38 – Steelers 31

New York Giants v. Green Bay Packers:

The last two times these teams met at Lambeau in the playoffs, the Giants won and went on to become Super Bowl Champions. This year the Packers come in as one of the hottest teams in the league behind the resurgence of the Aaron Rodgers- Jordy Nelson tandem. However this year it will not be enough as that defense on Green Bay is still leakier than a rusty faucet. The Giants spent some money this offseason to work on their defense and it has helped dramatically. This coupled with the ability of Eli Manning to turn up his play in big games leads me to believe the New York Giants will be able to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive for another week.

Giants 27- Packers 17