I present you with a sleeper to come out of the AFC. That would be the San Diego Chargers — yes, those perennially-underachieving, give-away-the-first-six-games Chargers.
Granted, it feels strange to be writing that. Living in Southern California, my seasonal football ritual involves a couple of trips South on I-5 to witness an inexcusable loss and join in the chorus for Norv Turner's firing.
I reserve that right, of course. What's more, it's worth noting the Chargers don't have an easy first half, with New England and the Jets (both on the road) and Green Bay. Now maybe they're not Norv-proof, but I like their chances.
San Diego was 9-7 last season, almost despite itself, after starting 2-5. "Do we have a better team than we had last year?" says Vincent Jackson. "Yeah."
In no small measure that's because Jackson, their best receiver, is no longer a holdout and an apparently happy camper. He started five games last season. The Chargers won four.
While conceding that each season finds the team "behind the eight-ball after four or five games," Jackson figures this is the year to break that ignominious tradition. "We believe in what we have here," he says.