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Chargers' schedule breakdown: Seahawks

7/16/2014

With the San Diego Chargers scheduled to begin training camp on July 24, we take a closer look at the team’s opponents for the 2014 regular season.

Second up: Seattle Seahawks

When: The Chargers host the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks on Sept. 14 at Qualcomm Stadium for the team’s 2014 home opener.

Last season: In his fourth season in Seattle, head coach Pete Carroll led his team on a campaign that ended with the Seahawks overwhelming the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, 43-8 -- winning the Vince Lombardi trophy for the first time in franchise history.

All-time series vs. Chargers: Seattle owns a 26-23 advantage, but San Diego is 14-9 against the Seahawks at Qualcomm Stadium.

Last meeting vs. Chargers: On the strength of two Leon Washington kick returns for touchdowns, Seattle defeated San Diego at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 26, 2010.

Super Bowl odds: 7-1

Key offseason additions: The Seahawks spent the most money in free agency retaining key players from their top-rated defense, including signing cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Earl Thomas and defensive end Michael Bennett to lucrative, multi-year deals. Seattle’s only free agency signing of note was picking up former San Diego Chargers interior offensive lineman Stephen Schilling. A Seattle-area native, Schilling will compete for a back-up job during training camp. Seattle selected two receivers in the draft who have a chance to make an impact: University of Colorado speedster Paul Richardson and polished route runner Kevin Norwood out of Alabama. Second-round selection Justin Britt will get a chance to compete for a starting job at right tackle.

Key offseason losses: Seattle will have to replace a ton of production on the defensive side of the ball, with defensive ends Red Bryant (Jaguars) and Chris Clemons (Jaguars), along with defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (Bucs) and cornerbacks Brandon Browner (Patriots) and Walter Thurmond (N.Y. Giants) all moving on in free agency. Offensively, the Seahawks lost starting right tackle Breno Giacomini (N.Y. Jets) and receiver Golden Tate (Lions). While those losses hurt, the Seahawks have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, with talented options to replace those players.

The skinny: While Seattle’s defense is very talented, offensively San Diego actually matches up pretty well. Because of the physical way the Chargers run the ball, San Diego will not be bullied at the line of scrimmage. And with tight end Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, the Chargers can attack one of the few weaknesses of Seattle’s defense, the middle of the field.

But the real matchup will be how San Diego’s defense can handle Seattle’s physical, explosive running attack, led by Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin.