NFL preseason 2013: Game preview for Chargers vs. Bears

Grant Halverson

Two teams with potentially explosive offenses will meet Thursday for a little exhibition football.

On Thursday, two teams with new head coaches will be gunning for their first wins of the campaign when the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears meet at Soldier Field.

The Chargers are coming off a 31-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in head coach Mike McCoy's debut. However, San Diego's first-team defense actually played very well, holding Russell Wilson to a 2-for-6 line for 23 yards. At halftime, the Chargers were only trailing 7-3 before things unraveled.

Chicago, on the other hand, lost to the Carolina Panthers on the road, 24-17. For new lead man Marc Trestman, the main concern had to be the leaky offensive lines, which gave up seven combined sacks. Jay Cutler also got off to a mediocre start, getting picked off while going 6-of-8.

Meet the Chargers

This is certainly a completely different year for San Diego. After years of having Norv Turner on the hot seat and general manager A.J. Smith infuriating the fan base by letting key players walk, the Chargers have gone with McCoy on the sidelines and new GM Tom Telesco in the front office.

Much of the team's personnel remains the same, with Philip Rivers leading the charge behind center. This could very well be a make-or-break season for Rivers, who has been pedestrian the last couple of years. In that span, Rivers has thrown 35 interceptions and committed 20 fumbles. If that doesn't change, his ZIP code might sooner rather than later.

Meet the Bears

Expectations are higher for Chicago, which is thought to have playoff talent. GM Phil Emery went out and made some additions with the signings of tight end Martellus Bennett and tackle Jermon Bushrod. The team was thinking about a Cutler extension before Trestman showed up, who urged the Bears to wait until it was apparent Cutler could thrive in his system.

Despite losing likely Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in the offseason, the Bears have high hopes for draft pick Jon Bostic, who intercepted Cam Newton in their game last week and ran it back for a touchdown. After missing the postseason in five of the previous six years, many in Chicago are expecting a winner in a wide open NFC North.

Local takes: Chargers

Over at Bolts From The Blue, John Gennaro talks about how pleased he is with Telesco over Smith:

So, thank you Tom Telesco. I am crediting you (although I'm fairly certain that John Spanos, A.G. Spanos, Dean Spanos and Mike McCoy have each played a part) for what I perceive to be an upgrade from a second-class operation to a first-class operation. The fans have noticed, the media has noticed and the players have certainly noticed. This is exactly what I was hoping to see from the new General Manager of the Chargers.

Local take: Bears

Steven Schweickert of Windy City Gridiron comments on his feelings toward Jon Bostic:

I'll admit, I did have a couple worries about Jonathan Bostic jumping into the fray immediately, with D.J. Williams out. That being said, he had a very strong debut, and it should make for a smooth transition into the post-Urlacher era. If Williams falters, Bostic may well be able to start day one - I do want to see him do it again on Thursday before I crown any rookie, but I think with all the additions to the linebacking corps, the Bears will be just fine.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Bolts From The Blue and Windy City Gridiron, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BFTB_Chargers

@WindyCGridiron

@UTKevinAcee - Chargers beat writer

@BradBiggs - Bears beat writer

Prediction

Considering this is Week 2 of the preseason, I'm going to go out on a ridiculous limb and say the starters won't play the entire game. In all likelihood, the starters will get the first quarter and maybe the beginning of the second before being pulled for the second and third teams to finish up. Of course, this is the prediction part of the piece and I'm not going to disappoint, so I'll go with the Bears winning, 30-19.

Odds

San Diego is favored by 4.5 points on the road against Chicago, according to Oddsshark.

Next Week

The Bears travel to take on the Oakland Raiders next Friday while the Chargers have a Saturday night date with the Arizona Cardinals in the desert.

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McNabb says RGIII is "brainwashed"

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