The San Diego Chargers’ 2012 schedule is sure to be as challenging as it is exciting.
The Chargers’ schedule is highlighted by five nationally-televised prime-time games, including a pair of prime-time matchups against AFC West rivals.
The Chargers will open the season as the second-half of the Kickoff Weekend Monday Night Football double-header for the third time in the last four years when they face the Oakland Raiders on Monday, Sept. 10 at 7:15 p.m. PT. It will mark the third time since 2006 (2006 and ’09) that the Chargers and Raiders meet in Oakland on Monday Night Football to kick off the season. The Bolts won both previous meetings. It will also mark the Bolts’ second-straight game against their arch-rivals as the Chargers closed out the 2011 season with a 38-26 win at the O.co Coliseum that eliminated the Raiders from the AFC Playoff race.
Chargers fans are going to look forward to Week 6 when quarterback Peyton Manning and his new team – the AFC West Champion Denver Broncos – come to San Diego for another big ESPN Monday Night Football matchup. It will mark the third time since 2007 that the Chargers have hosted the Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium for Monday Night Football with the Bolts posting wins in two of those three.
The schedule-maker also placed the Bolts at home in Qualcomm Stadium four of the final six weeks of the regular season, finishing like they started with a matchup against the division-rival Raiders.
Following the Week 1 season opener, fans will look forward to all the pomp and circumstance of opening day at the home opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 16 at 1:15 p.m. PT. The Chargers and Titans have met seven times since 2004 and had a number of memorable matchups, including a win by the Chargers in the Wild Card Playoffs during the Bolts’ magical playoff run of 2007 and a Christmas Night win in Tennessee in 2009 that was the Chargers’ 10th win in a row and clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. San Diego has won eight straight over the Titans.
The Atlanta Falcons, an NFC Wild Card Playoff team in 2011, come to San Diego for a Week 3 battle on Sept. 23 at 1:05 p.m. PT. This matchup will feature two of the NFL’s top offenses, led by quarterbacks Philip Rivers of the Chargers and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. It also will match up two of the league’s top rushers in the Bolts’ Ryan Mathews and former Charger Michael Turner.
The Chargers will take to the road for Games 4-5 of the regular season, facing the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 30 (10 a.m. PT), followed by a nationally-televised NBC Sunday Night Football game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Oct. 7 (5:20 p.m. PT).
San Diego will have its bye in Week 7 and then travel to the shores of Lake Erie to face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Oct. 28 (10 a.m. PT) at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Bolts will have a very short week to prepare for their next game, however, as on Thursday, Nov. 1, San Diego must return home to face the Chiefs for the second time, AFC West champions of 2010. That game will be televised by the NFL Network at 5:20 p.m. PT. Both of last season’s contests against the Chiefs were decided by three points, including a win at home that was settled by one of Eric Weddle’s team-leading seven interceptions.
The Chargers will then have 10 days before they have to take the field again, which will be a welcome respite as San Diego will play a pair of road games in succession, traveling to Tampa Bay on Sunday, Nov. 11 (10 a.m. PT) and to Denver to face Manning and the Broncos for the second time on Sunday, Nov. 18 (1:15 p.m. PT). The Broncos’ contest will begin a stretch of four-straight games against 2011 playoff teams.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, just days after Thanksgiving, the Chargers will start a season-ending stretch in which they play four of their last six at home. It should provide a great opportunity for the Chargers, who ended both the 2010 and ’11 seasons with back-to-back games on the road. The Chargers will host the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 25 at 1:05 p.m. PT in a game that pits the Chargers against a team that fell just a field goal short from appearing in Super Bowl XLVI just a few months ago. It will also be a rematch of the 2011 contest in which the Chargers handed the Ravens a convincing 34-14 beating before a national-TV audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The following week (Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1:15 p.m. PT), the Chargers will host the Cincinnati Bengals, a surprise Wild Card team in 2011 behind rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.
San Diego has to play only two road games in its last six contests, but both will post stiff challenges as the Chargers face the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Dec. 9 (10 a.m. PT) and the New York Jets on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at Met Life Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 23 (5:20 p.m. PT). In between those two contests, the Chargers will play host to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Dec. 16 (1:05 p.m. PT), who are coached by former Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and are led by the top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, quarterback Cam Newton.
Finally, the Chargers will close out the 2012 NFL season with a home date on Sunday, Dec. 30 against the Raiders at 1:15 p.m. PT. It’ll be the second year in a row that the Chargers and Raiders face off to end the regular-season. The Chargers won last year’s finale, eliminating them from the AFC Playoff race.
Coach Norv Turner spoke on the team’s schedule:
“From our team’s standpoint and our fans’ standpoint, I don’t know that you could put together a more exciting schedule when you look at the number of great teams we play and when we play them. It presents some great opportunities for our team. I like the timing of the schedule coming out this week. We start our offseason program on Monday and I think it really gives our guys something to look forward to. It should give our guys great motivation.”
You will play on the road in the second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader to open the season for the third time in four years. What is your reaction to playing at Oakland in the season opener?
“The first thing I always look for is our division games – when we play them and the circumstance you’re under. So obviously that game will get the thing started, and it doesn’t get more exciting than playing the Raiders and playing in your division. It’s a great rivalry and it’s a real test when you go on the road for a Monday night game to open the season.”
Fans will be excited about the matchup against Denver and Peyton Manning. Will playing them more than a month into the season give you a better idea of what their offense will look like in 2012?
“Yeah, I guess so. I think we’ll have a better idea of what they’re going to do. I expect them to be a combination of what they’ve done and what Peyton did in Indianapolis. The key games, the starting point is in your division and in your conference. I think this schedule presents a great opportunity for our team and what we’re going to accomplish.”
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