LaDainian Tomlinson (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty)
For the second straight season, the AFC’s No. 3 seed will win the Super Bowl. The Bolts have everything on their side -- momentum, matchups, history -- all of which means San Diego is four games away from claiming the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
The Chargers are the hottest non-cheating team in the playoffs. They have won six straight games by an average of 18 points. During that span, the offense has scored more than 30 points per game and the defense has allowed the fewest points in the league.
The Chargers will run the Tennessee Titans out of Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego has outscored its opponents 81-0 in the first quarter of home games this season, and the Titans are not built to play from behind -- especially with TE Bo Scaife and WR Roydell Williams out with injuries.
The win will send the Chargers to Indianapolis, where they will face a Colts team that struggles with San Diego’s size and physicality. The Chargers have won two straight against the Colts; it would be three straight were it not for a fourth-quarter kickoff return touchdown by Dominic Rhodes in 2004.
The last time the Chargers traveled to Indianapolis was in 2005, when San Diego pulled off a 26-17 upset and ended the Colts' unbeaten season in Week 15.
Another win in Indy will send the Chargers to New England to face the 17-0 Patriots. The Chargers will be aided by a snowy field and 25-degree weather that will dampen the Patriots’ potent offense. The Chargers will control time of possession with a heavy dose of LaDainian Tomlinson, keeping the chains moving and Tom Brady on the sideline.
When Brady is on the field, the Chargers will bring pressure with Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips (21 sacks combined) and force Brady to throw into blustering winds, only to find Antonio Cromartie and Clinton Hart (15 interceptions combined) sitting on his routes.
The Chargers will handle whoever the NFC has to offer in the Super Bowl -- after beating the Colts and Patriots on the road, the Super Bowl win will be a foregone conclusion.
The precedent has been set for a Chargers victory. Look at the Colts. They boasted the league’s best record in 2005 only to lose their first playoff game. They came back the next year, tested themselves throughout a trying regular season and went on to win the Super Bowl.
True, the Colts did not change coaches between their playoff pratfall and their Super Bowl success. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did just that, firing Tony Dungy after a playoff season in 2001 only to win the Super Bowl under Jon Gruden in 2002.
The Chargers have momentum. They have favorable matchups. They have history that indicates what they set out to accomplish can be done. All they have left is a one-month wait before they can officially proclaim themselves champions.
Click here for John Connelly's explanation why the Bolts will not win The Big One.
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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.