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A look at the Chargers' 2012 matchups

Posted Apr 17, 2012

Week 1 – at Oakland

TV: ESPN

Last season: 8-8, third AFC West

2012 First Round: None

Key Player: QB Carson Palmer

Notes: The Chargers are 1-1 in road season openers under Head Coach Norv Turner. San Diego went 8-2 at what’s now O.co Coliseum in the last decade, including a 38-26 win Week 17 of last season.


Week 2 – vs. Tennessee

TV: CBS

Last season: 9-7, second AFC South

2012 First Round: No. 20 overall pick

Key Player: QB Chris Johnson

Notes: San Diego has beaten Tennessee eight consecutive times. The Bolts haven’t lost this matchup since 1992, when the Titans were the Houston Oilers. The home opener marks the first time the Chargers will play in Qualcomm Stadium in nearly a month, as the final two preseason games are on the road as well.


Week 3 – vs. Atlanta

TV: FOX

Last season: 10-6, second NFC South

2012 First Round: None

Key Player: QB Matt Ryan

Notes: Since 1988, the winning team in this matchup has scored 10, 13, 10, 14, 21 and 22 points. Barry Redden ran for a 5-yard score with 4:32 left in ’88, the only touchdown of the game in San Diego’s lone win over Atlanta.


Week 4 – at Kansas City

TV: CBS

Last season: 7-9, fourth AFC West

2012 First Round: No. 11 overall pick

Key Player: RB Jamaal Charles

Notes: The Chargers have lost back-to-back years at Arrowhead Stadium, including a 21-14 defeat in 2010 that launched the Chiefs to their first playoff appearance in four years.


Week 5 – at New Orleans

TV: NBC

Last season: 13-3, first NFC South

2012 First Round: None

Key Player:  QB Drew Brees

Notes: The Saints will be without Head Coach Sean Payton, suspended for the season, and interim coach Joe Vitt, suspended for six games. The matchup marks the first regular-season meeting between the two teams since 2008, when New Orleans won, 37-32, at Wembley Stadium in London.


Week 6 – vs. Denver

TV: ESPN

Last season: 8-8, first AFC West

2012 First Round: No. 25 overall

Key Player: QB Peyton Manning

Notes: The Broncos won, 16-13, in overtime last season at Qualcomm Stadium in an emotional game that helped prevent the Chargers from winning the division and allowed Denver to make the playoffs. This will be San Diego’s first look at the recast Denver offense led by Peyton Manning.


Week 8 – at Cleveland

TV: CBS

Last season: 4-12, fourth AFC North

2012 First Round: No. 4 overall pick

Key Player: LB D’Qwell Jackson

Notes: The Browns are the only AFC North team that did not make the playoffs in 2011. San Diego has never lost to Cleveland in regulation when scoring at least 20 points.


Week 9 – vs. Kansas City

TV: NFLN

Last season: 7-9, fourth AFC West

2012 First Round: No. 11 overall pick

Key Player: RB Jamaal Charles

Notes: The Chargers have outscored the Chiefs, 94-31, at Qualcomm Stadium the last three seasons. This matchup represents San Diego’s only game at the home venue during a 40-day stretch in October and November.


Week 10 – at Tampa Bay

TV: CBS

Last season: 4-12, fourth NFC South

2012 First Round: No. 5 overall pick

Key Player: WR Vincent Jackson

Notes: San Diego is 4-0 all-time on the road against Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers threw four touchdowns in a 41-24 road win in 2008, his only career game against the Buccaneers. The game also will be the Chargers’ first against Vincent Jackson.


Week 11 – at Denver

TV: CBS

Last season: 8-8, first AFC West

2012 First Round: No. 25 overall pick

Key Player: QB Peyton Manning

Notes: San Diego’s defense picked off Peyton Manning a season-high four times, returning two for touchdowns, the last time the Chargers faced the quarterback on the road (Nov. 28, 2010). The Bolts have won five of the last six against the Broncos in Denver.


Week 12 – vs. Baltimore

TV: CBS

Last season: 12-4, first AFC North

2012 First Round: No. 29 overall pick

Key Player: LB Terrell Suggs

Notes: The Ravens mark the first of three consecutive games against playoff teams from the same division one season ago, a first in franchise history. San Diego trounced Baltimore, 34-14, last year.


Week 13 – vs. Cincinnati

TV: CBS

Last season: 9-7, third AFC North

2012 First Round: No. 21 overall pick

Key Player: WR A.J. Green

Notes: San Diego gets its first look at a pair of last year’s standout offensive rookies in quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green. The Chargers lost to the Bengals, 34-20, in Week 16 of 2010, eliminating the team’s postseason chances.


Week 14 – at Pittsburgh

TV: CBS

Last season: 12-4, second AFC North

2012 First Round: No. 24 overall pick

Key Player: QB Ben Roethlisberger

Notes: San Diego beat Pittsburgh, 17-13, in the ’94 AFC Championship. The Steelers returned the favor in the AFC Divisional Playoffs in ’08 en route to a win in Super Bowl XLIII.


Week 15 – vs. Carolina

TV: FOX

Last season: 6-10, third NFC South

2012 First Round: No. 9 overall pick

Key Player: QB Cam Newton

Notes: The game marks the first matchup between Head Coach Norv Turner and his former defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Former Chargers assistant Rob Chudzinski, now offensive coordinator for the Panthers, former Chargers defensive backs coach Steve Wilks and former running back Mike Tolbert also return to Qualcomm Stadium.


Week 16 – at New York Jets

TV: NBC

Last season: 8-8, second AFC East

2012 First Round: No. 16 overall

Key Player: CB Darrelle Revis

Notes: Last year’s physical, close matchup ended with a 27-21 road loss, turned out to be the last game of Kris Dielman’s outstanding career and started a six-game losing streak that would define San Diego’s season. San Diego will get a chance to avenge all that in a game that could have huge playoff implications for both teams.


Week 17 – vs. Oakland

TV: CBS

Last season: 8-8, third AFC West

2012 First Round: None.

Key Player: QB Carson Palmer

Notes: The Chargers have beaten the last AFC West team on its schedule for six consecutive seasons, including twice against Oakland in Week 17 games under Head Coach Norv Turner.

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