Last season the Dodgers April Schedule of games ended with a 13-11 record. Their best April was in 2012 where they went 16-7. The 2015 Dodgers April Schedule of games will start off the season with some great action.
With a 2-1 record that could easily be 3-0 if not for a tight loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Chargers have firmly established themselves as contenders to unseat the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. With impressive victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, two teams whose only loss is to the Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers is playing some of the best football of his outstanding career. Two years after many questioned the long-term viability of Rivers as the Chargers quarterback, the Chargers veteran signal caller has established himself as a leading league MVP candidate. In a league where the top quarterback conversation typically involves a top tier of Brady, Manning, and Rodgers, Rivers play and leadership has stood out this season.
The season is early, but the Chargers look to have staying power. While the team is sure to contend for a division title and second consecutive playoff berth, Rivers has an opportunity to earn his first NFL MVP.
Here are three reasons Philip Rivers is the leader of the pack in the NFL MVP voting.
He’s thrived versus tough competition: The Chargers have faced three top five defenses in the first three weeks of the season, with Rivers excelling versus all three opponents. Arizona, Seattle, and Buffalo are known for their physical fonts and ability to make it tough on opposing quarterbacks. As he has done his entire career Rivers has shown the toughness and ability to make big throws, even against extreme pressure. Heading into week four Rivers has six touchdowns and just one interception. The Chargers are a battle-tested unit who look like they have staying power. The early season tough slate has the Chargers primed and ready to take on the Broncos.
He’s succeeded with a lack of a running game: Rivers has led an impressive offensive performance while the team has struggled running the football. Last week against the Buffalo Bills the team lost running back Danny Woodhead, a week after losing starting running back Ryan Mathews. Even with all the injuries, the Chargers offense kept the Bills off balance all day long. It’s testament to the leadership and ability of Rivers to stay in the pocket, often against max pressure, and deliver the football. There is few quarterbacks in NFL history tougher than Rivers, who has made his mark throughout his career by his ability to take massive hits while still putting the football on the money.
He’s doing it with less: MVP voters love a new storyline. Last season Peyton Manning was the deserving MVP due to his incredible numbers. Manning is re-writing the record book, behind one of the league’s best offensive line and an offense full of weapons that includes one of the league’s top receivers (Demaryius Thomas), an elite tight end (Julius Thomas) and a future Hall of Famer in the slot (Wes Welker). Not to undermine Manning’s remarkable performance, but he has a tremendous amount of weapons. Rivers, on the other hand, is not blessed with an elite offensive line or a receiving core that rivals what Manning has in Denver. It’s tough to quantify but the overall feeling is that Rivers is doing more with less, often in the face of intense pressure, with the Seattle game being the prime example. During the Seahawks game Rivers showed an incredible ability to evade pressure and fit throws into remarkably tight windows, often in the face; something in intense pressure. It was an MVP performance, something Rivers has done time and time again over the past season and a half.
It’s early, but right now Philip Rivers might just be this year NFL MVP.
Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers have moved to Los Angeles! Check out our complete Learn about the Chargers Stadium seating chart guide to find the best place to sit in the new stadium..
Smith’s legal issues are the latest in a handful of off-the-field incidents the 49ers are dealing with this season. Chris Culliver, an important part of the 49ers revamped secondary, will soon be charged for a recent hit and run incident. The 49ers are likely to hold onto Culliver, who will play a major role for the team due to the loss of multiple cornerbacks in free agency. This past week quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s name came up in relation to a “suspicious incident” that Miami police are still investigating. It’s unknown whether or not Kaepernick will be charged with anything, but any potential drama around Kaepernick will be yet another distraction for the franchise. It’s been an eventful offseason, beginning with rumors that the team actually looked to trade Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns. The Harbaugh story was followed by a tough free agency period where more of the 49ers impressive defensive depth was picked apart by NFL free agency.The potential loss of Smith may be a major blow to the 49ers pass rush. Smith forms a tremendous combination with defensive end Justin Smith. Couple the loss of Aldon Smith with the devastating knee injury that NaVorro Bowman is returning from and the 49ers linebacker corps is clearly diminished. Bowman is a unique player, an every down player, who will likely be replaced by a handful of players as well as changes in scheme. With the 49ers secondary rebuilding, including new safety Antoine Bethea, a solid pass rush will be important. Corey Lemonair, who showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, is the logical replacement for Smith. San Francisco also has a massive number of draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft, with ample opportunity to pick up potential pass rush talent.
Whether or not they can find a player who can average a sack a game, like Smith, is another story. In an offseason where they were forced to replace exiting talent at several positions, the distraction of another Smith incident is exactly what the 49ers didn’t need. With Seattle coming off of a Super Bowl title the 49ers will need their typical elite defense. If they are unable to make up for their losses on the defensive side of the football they could be looking at another wild card run next season. By Chris Cabrera
Culliver is in the final year of his contract and the 49ers would save $1.4 million by cutting him loose. It may be popular from a public perception standpoint to cut Culliver loose but it sets up legitimate depth problems for the team. San Francisco did sign Chris Cook away from the Vikings during the free agency period. Cook is a skilled player who wore out his welcome in Minnesota, which included a felony assault trial. The 49ers ability to develop players could do wonders for Cook, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll turn into an elite player immediately. If Culliver is cut they could conceivably turn to Carlos Rogers, or a veteran like Champ Bailey, if he has anything left in the tank. Either way a position that was once an area of massive strength for the organization is in serious doubt, putting pressure on the remaining players to step up and perform and giving the team a small margin for error when the inevitable injuries occur.Will Culliver’s issues and the loss of Brown, Rogers and Whitner set the 49ers back in their effort to win a Super Bowl under Jim Harbaugh? Windows off opportunity are small in the NFL and like every team that compiles a large amount of talent the 49ers are suffering free agent defections. The combination of Reid and Whitner was a solid combo at safety last season, but will Bethea and Reid be as strong? Bethea is a talented cover safety but not the physical presence that Whitner was. With or without Culliver the 49ers overall depth at cornerback is not as strong as last season. Toss in a potential career threatening injury to Navorro Bowman and San Francisco could see their defense fall back a peg. Will that impact their ability to compete with Seattle? Time will tell. Chris Michaels.
The 49ers are hosting visits with a handful of other intriguing players, including Walter Thurmond of the Seattle Seahawks and Chris Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. The talented Thurmond is also visiting Jacksonville and Washington. He’d be an interesting addition to the 49ers roster, adding a capable player while subtracting a talented depth player from their chief division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. Cook, coming off a couple of disappointing seasons in Minnesota, is a rangy and skilled player who hasn’t lived up to his potential in the NFL. Perhaps a change of scenery and the ability to play for an elite coaching staff can benefit Cook and help him reach his potential.
While the 49ers were hosting Thurmond and Cook, running back Anthony Dixon was visiting the Tennessee Titans and his former college running backs coach Sylvester Croom. Dixon is also set to visit the Buffalo Bills. Dixon is a capable backup but his potential loss could be offset by the presence of Marcus Lattimore. After missing his entire rookie season due to a devastating knee injury he suffered in college the former South Carolina star may be ready to contribute behind Frank Gore. If Lattimore can return to form the 49ers may have found the steal of the 2013 NFL draft.
In addition to the free agent signing of Bethea the 49ers made a couple of interesting, and high profile trades. The first move was sending a 7th round draft pick to the Dolphins for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Like Cook a change of scenery may benefit Martin after the well publicized Richie Incognito controversy. Martin didn’t perform well in his limited starts in Miami but the thought is his former college head coach, Harbaugh, can potentially help Martin reach his potential. If Martin can live up to his potential the 49ers may have picked up some good depth and a player who could be a potential starter down the road. In addition to Martin the 49ers also traded a 6th round pick for former Jaguars starter Blaine Gabbert. The former 10th overall pick never lived up to his potential, but could end up being a valuable backup in San Francisco. It’s a classic low risk move that helps boost the talent of the overall roster and gives the 49ers a potential solid backup should Colin Kaepernick ever go down for an extended period of time.
The 49ers open up the 2014 in the new Levi’s Stadium leaving their old home of Candlestick Park. Levis Stadium cost $1.2 Billion and has a capacity of 68,500. 49ers Ticket prices for their opening game of the 2014 – 2015 season have yet to be announced but with the new stadium they are expected to run from $200-$1000 per ticket. By: Chris Cabrera