How good are the Chargers?

With a more conservative game plan and strong D, Chargers can win AFC West

Originally Published: October 5, 2012
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Philip RiversPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesPhilip Rivers hasn't been turning the ball over this season for the Chargers.

With the exception of a lopsided Week 3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, who now look like an elite team, the San Diego Chargers have played well this season. This team has a different look and feel than the ones we have seen the last few years. Notoriously slow starters under head coach Norv Turner, they are off to an impressive 3-1 record and are playing with a lot of confidence and consistency.

But is that a result of a truly improved Chargers team from last season or just an opening four games that has included contests against Oakland, Tennessee and Kansas City?

After studying the tape, here are five reasons why the Chargers are for real:

The defense is actually producing big plays

In recent years, this team went only as far as the offense carried it and in spite of defensive players with good skill sets, the Chargers just didn't play with enough consistency. That has changed in the first month of this 2012 season.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.