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On paper, the Chargers have the third toughest 2011 schedule.
Of course the games are played on grass, with the Chargers opening at home against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Sept. 11.
They will be tested in week two, playing the Patriots in New England before returning home to face the Chiefs and Dolphins.
“Three of the first four at home … that’s big,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “There’s obviously going to be an emphasis on getting off to a fast start. We’ve been able to overcome some of the slow starts but weren’t able to do it last year so I think that’ll have a real strong meaning for our football team.”
Among the other highlights are four prime time games including a Dec. 18 Sunday night game on NBC against the Baltimore Ravens.
Another home game that figures to be a hot ticket is on Nov. 6, when they host the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
November figures to be a pivotal month, after the Packers, the Chargers host Oakland on Thursday night, travel to Chicago then host Denver.
“Teams change every year. Two years ago people thought we had the toughest schedule we’ve had in a long time and we were 13-3,” Turner said. “Last year at this time people were saying our schedule was an easy schedule and we didn’t do as well as we’d like. So this will play out in terms of the difficulty of the schedule.”
The Chargers missed the playoffs last season, going 9-7 despite having the top ranked offense and defense in the league.