SAN DIEGO (AP) — Like most everyone else in the NFL at this time of year, the San Diego Chargers think they can get to the Super Bowl.
After watching Seattle rout Denver for the NFL championship nearly three months ago, they know how tough that road will be.
Not only will the Chargers have to go through the division rival and defending AFC champion Broncos, but they play the four NFC West teams in the regular season and three of them in the exhibition season.
"People say that's the best division in football right now. I cherish the opportunity," inside linebacker Donald Butler said Tuesday, when the Chargers began their offseason workouts.
Having ended a three-year playoff drought, the Chargers are more optimistic than a year ago at this time.
"Day One, everybody says Super Bowl," Butler said. "We know we can get there. We're a little more confident and obviously a little more excited."
The Chargers had to stage a late-season rally, as well as get help from collapses by Miami and Baltimore, to reach the playoffs last season.
This year, they'll definitely have to earn a postseason berth.
The Chargers draw the NFC West. They'll host Seattle and St. Louis during the regular season, and visit San Francisco and Arizona. Dates and times will be announced Wednesday.
In the exhibition season, the Chargers will host Arizona and visit Seattle and San Francisco.
Butler said the Seahawks "brought a physicality and a mentality that was unmatched by Denver" in the Super Bowl. "I definitely believe that we can get there and that we will get there.