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Chargers a difficult team to stomach

Updated: October 18, 2010, 1:41 PM ET
By Chad Millman

Back when the AFL was being formed, Lamar Hunt, one of the league's founders and the son of an oil baron, enlisted another wealthy scion, hotel heir Barron Hilton, to create a team.

Hilton was the president of a new company that had this fanciful way of buying things. He didn't pay with cash. Not with a check. It was a charge card, called the Carte Blanche. Being the marketing genius he was -- a gift passed all the way down to dear, dear Paris -- Hilton named his football team the Chargers.

Fifty years later, there may not be a more appropriate nickname. Because this is a team that has been buying our faith on credit for the better part of a decade. Every year it reeks of Super Bowl potential, with an offense as electric as its lightning bolt logo and a defense that plays stiffer than anything you'd expect from the soft sandy beaches of a surfer town. Last week, The New York Times The Fifth Down blog did a great piece analyzing how potent this team is on both sides of the ball. Heading into its Week 6 game against St. Louis, the Times wrote, "The Chargers have outgained their five opponents by 1,078 yards, a path of destruction that is rare in league history. Only four N.F.L. teams have outgained their first five opponents by at least 1,000 yards."

I bring all this up because, based on those numbers alone, this is a team that should be dominating, not just from a win-loss perspective but from an against the spread perspective, too.

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