Chargers will give area reason to cheer

Pigskin Pick 'Em

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2007

It takes a rare, unforeseen situation to throw an NFL team into turmoil coming off a bye week.

The San Diego Chargers are experiencing that as we speak.

Forced to cancel practice on Monday and Tuesday, members of the Chargers and roughly 900,000 other San Diegoans had to evacuate the area due to wildfires that burned around them, at least 1,800 houses suffering the effects.

While the Bolts practiced at the Arizona Cardinals' headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., from Wednesday until today the Cardinals are coincidentally on their bye week players had to be wondering about the well-being of family and friends who reside in the area.

Then, there's the issue of their homes.

And the visiting Houston Texans (3-4).

"The truth of the matter is we do have a game Sunday, who knows where," San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said on Monday, "and we've got to get ready for that."

They sure do.

Whether they play in San Diego, or Glendale, Ariz., the new home of the Cardinals which is hosting a motorcycle show through Sunday afternoon, or London, where the Giants will take on the Dolphins, it shouldn't make a difference to either team.

With the line off the board due to the uncertainty of the situation, both are desperately seeking a win in order to stay alive in the highly-contested AFC.

But the Chargers (3-3) have literally been here before.

It's roughly four years to the week that they were first displaced by wildfires, shifting a Monday night showdown against Miami to Tempe.

Hoping to inspire their ravaged community, San Diego did just the opposite, falling to the Dolphins, 26-10.

This time, though, they face a Texans' squad that may have a quarterback controversy.

Sage Rosenfels I know, who? replaced injured starter Matt Schaub and erased a 32-7, fourth-quarter deficit by throwing four touchdowns, including a 53-yard bomb with under a minute to play. But the 29-year-old with just two career starts under his belt came up just shy when Tennessee's Rob Bironas kicked his NFL-record eighth field goal of the contest, a 29-yarder as time expired, in sealing the Titans' 38-36 road victory.

Tennessee defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who knocked Schaub out of that game, doesn't seem to think there's an issue, even though Schaub is listed as day-to-day.

"Well, heck, I mean we probably would have won this game 35-7 if he stayed in," he said. "It was good to knock him out I guess, but he's going to come back and I don't think there'll be any kind of quarterback controversy because they pay that guy a lot of money."

The Yankees paid Roger Clemens a lot of money, too, $18 million to be exact, and where are they know? Right. Playing golf.

Both teams could be working on their swings come January if they don't get rolling soon.

Ten, maybe 11, wins will be necessary to qualify for the postseason in the AFC, and both the Chargers and Texans are significantly behind in that race.

Luckily for the Chargers, though, they have a spark of their own, LaDainian Tomlinson, who finally got on track with 198 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 6 win over Oakland.

He'll come to play wherever the game is held.

CHARGERS, 37-24.

Cleveland (minus 3) at St. Louis

Derek Anderson was a third-stringer in Madden 2005. Now he's on the verge of leading Cleveland to its first winning record since an opening day victory the year before. BROWNS, 45-38.

Detroit (plus 5 1/2) at Chicago

Lions scored an NFL-record 34 fourth-quarter points in Week 4 win over Bears. They'll need all of those, and more, this week. BEARS, 35-34.

New York Giants (minus 9 1/2) vs. Miami at London, England

Even hooligans can't help the hapless Dolphins. GIANTS, 31-14.

Oakland (plus 7 1/2) at Tennessee

Raiders' receiver Ronald Curry used to be the quarterback at the University of North Carolina. Time for a switch? TITANS, 33-20.

Philadelphia (minus 1) at Minnesota

Rookie Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing. Please tell me why he's still sharing carries? EAGLES, 20-17.

Pittsburgh (minus 3 1/2) at Cincinnati

Cincy needs a win more than Pittsburgh. BENGALS, 38-34.

Buffalo (plus 3) at New York Jets

Bills' QB Trent Edwards is just beginning his career. Chad Pennington's may be coming to an abrupt end. BILLS, 28-24.

Jacksonville (plus 3 1/2) at Tampa Bay

The way Jaguars' backup QB Quinn Gray looked on Monday night (9-of-24, 56 yards, two INTs), they'll probably run every down. I would. BUCCANEERS, 24-21.

New Orleans (minus 3) at San Francisco

Reggie Bush imitates LT's performance from two weeks ago. SAINTS, 38-10.

Washington (plus 16) at New England

Merely a tuneup for next week's trip to Indy. PATS, 42-17.

Indianapolis (minus 6 1/2) at Carolina

Colts don't hold up their end of the bargain. PANTHERS, 35-34.

Green Bay (plus 3) at Denver

No John Elway to dive toward the goal line this time. PACKERS, 28-24.

LAST WEEK: 10-4 (spread); 11-3 (straight up)

SEASON: 58-36-9 (spread); 65-38 (straight up)

Comments and criticisms may be sent to Clarion sports reporter Matthew Carroll at

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