By Dave Thomas

As Week Three of the NFL descends on the nation Thursday evening when the Super Bowl champion New York Giants visit Carolina, some thoughts are shaping up after two weeks.

Among them:

  • The Chiefs, Raiders, Titans and Jags may be as bad as advertised.
  • Even with the off-season problems involving “Bountygate” that hit the Saints, most people did not expect them to lose to the Redskins and Panthers in back-to-back weeks.
  • The Cowboys look to once again be hot one week and cold another in 2012.
  • If you had Arizona going into Foxboro and upsetting the Patriots in Week Two, you should also have played the lottery last weekend.
  • The San Diego Chargers may be better than advertised.

Now, the last statement may or may not resonate with fans, depending of course on just who you are talking to.

To the fans in San Diego, while some may be pleasantly surprised at the team’s 2-0 start, others knew that the talent was there if things just fell into place.

Even with starting running back Ryan Mathews not having played a regular season down after two games, Antonio Gates sitting out the game versus Tennessee due to a rib injury, and persistent questions about the offensive line’s ability to protect franchise QB Philip Rivers, the Bolts are the lone unbeaten team in the AFC West.

Have The Chargers Played Anyone Yet?

The critics, and they are out there for sure, will tell you the Chargers have yet to play anyone. Oakland (22-14 win) and Tennessee (38-10) are a combined 0-4, with neither franchise looking like they will amount to much this season.

That being said, what would a win this Sunday at home against the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons mean for the Chargers?

Yes, it is just one step in a 16-game process that runs until the end of the year. A win, however, may give the Chargers a little more clout around the NFL to say they do indeed deserve to be unbeaten this early in the season.

Should the Chargers fall to the Falcons this Sunday, you will likely hear from many that San Diego’s first two wins were rather meaningless, noting that they could not handle a good club like Atlanta.

Most NFL folks will tell you that putting too much stock into a regular season game as a player or fan does not really serve anyone. Remember, the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint by any means.

So, what should everyone take out of this Sunday’s matchup between the best teams in the NFC South and the AFC West at this point and time?

Atlanta is looking to gain an even bigger lead on their biggest divisional threat, the New Orleans Saints. Meantime, early indicators look to be that the Chargers and Broncos will battle it out for top honors in the AFC West unless the Raiders and Chiefs find a way to shut down opponents while correcting a number of issues on offense.

Then again, keep in mind that this is just one more game on the NFL schedule. Both Falcon and Charger fans need to keep that in mind no matter the outcome Sunday.

For the team that loses, there is no reason to panic.  For the team that comes out victorious, there is another game to play the following week, then another, and another….

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.

Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on


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