Even though we've long known the "who" and the "where" of the 2016 schedule, finding out the "when" adds another layer to the excitement.
Now that the Chargers 2016 schedule has been officially released, here are five things you need to know.
*1. Immediate Test vs. the AFC West – *After struggling against the AFC West in recent years, the Chargers know they must improve inside the division. Recent seasons have found the Chargers schedule back loaded with AFC West opponents. They had to wait until Week 7 last year for their first division game while four of their final five games were against their rivals. This year the Bolts must hit the ground running. They begin the year at the Kansas City Chiefs while four of their six division games occur within the first eight games, including two against the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos in a 17 day span. Their other two AFC West games include two home games Week 15 vs. the Oakland Raiders and Week 17 vs. the Chiefs.
2. Early Frequent Fliers –Five of the Chargers eight away games occur over the first two months of the season. Following a pair of away games in September, the Bolts hit the road three times in October. While the early traveling can be daunting, the benefit is the team will play the majority of games down the stretch at Qualcomm Stadium.
3. Have to Earn Primetime Games –After a 4-12 season, it's not unexpected to have fewer primetime games than normal. Nonetheless, it's surprising that a team featuring Philip Rivers has only *one *primetime game currently scheduled even coming off a down season. The Chargers lone game under the lights is set for Week 6 on Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. However, a strong season by the Bolts might change that. The NFL reserves the right to flex teams into the Sunday Night game between weeks 5-15 and 17, so additional primetime games are a possibility for the Bolts.
4. QBs at the Q –The Chargers face a number of high profile quarterbacks at the Q this season. The first quarterback the Bolts face at Qualcomm is Blake Bortles, who ranked second in the NFL with 35 touchdown passes last season, just one behind Tom Brady for the league lead. Week 4 marks Drew Brees' first game back in America's Finest City after beginning his career with the Chargers. Last year's number one overall pick Jameis Winston makes a rare trip to San Diego, while the number two pick Marcus Mariota will also make his Qualcomm debut.
5. Warm Winter Weather–Another bonus to a lot of early travel means the Bolts will play most of their games in sunny San Diego during the traditionally cold months of November and December. In fact, the Chargers have only three road games over the final two months of the season. While the team travels to a number of cold weather cities, fortunately the road finale on Christmas Eve in Cleveland figures to be the only true game in frigid temperatures. The Bolts visit traditional cold weather cities such as Kansas City and Indianapolis (indoor stadium) in September, while they head to Denver and Oakland in October.
Individual game tickets for Chargers home games are not yet on sale. The only way to secure your seat is by becoming a Season Ticket Member.