NFL Football Week 2 - San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots 8:15 PM EST
The Patriots are currently a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 46 at sportsbook.com for this contest.
New England rolled to a 38-14 dismantling of the Jets behind three Tom Brady TD passes. The Chargers upended the defending NFC champion Bears 14-3, yielding just 202 yards of offense.
San Diego will of course be looking to avenge last January’s 24-21 playoff ouster at the hands of the Patriots. Including that game, the underdog in this series is on a nice 6-1 ATS run.
Bill Belichick’s club was just 3-6 ATS at home in ’06 but is 6-1 SU & ATS in its L7 overall. San Diego, a 4-point dog here, has been incredible on the road as a pooch, going 9-1-1 ATS in its L11.
In the immortal words of Keith Jackson “Whoa Nellie”. This ought to be on dandy of a contest. Last year’s AFC divisional playoff game altered the lives on many people starting with departed Marty Schottenheimer as the head coach.
Long before he was in San Diego, Schottenheimer had a reputation of not winning the big game the loss to New England all but cemented his future employment in SoCal.
Enter Norv Turner who is an accredited offensive genius, who has shown even less than Marty, not being able to win in the regular season. Turner is curious hire only because offense is the least of the Chargers worries.
Having LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield would solve a lot of coach’s problems around the NFL. This along with a possibly young emerging top flight quarterback in Philip Rivers doesn’t hurt either. As San Diego has shown they have a treacherous front seven lead by Shawne Merriman and nose tackle Jamal Williams.
Both are incredibly disruptive forces that have the capability of blowing up the best of game plans by the opposition.
New England is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. In all the great runs championship teams have had, it has always been the coach and the quarterback that have been the face of the franchise.
Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, and Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, bring up the names of these teams and within a moment the name of the coach and quarterback will be involved in the conversation.
The Patriots are playing shorthanded despite have a great off-season. Safety Rodney Harrison is suspended by the league for violating rules and defensive end Richard Seymour is on the physically unable to perform list with continued leg and knee problems.
This is not what the Pats need taking on high-powered San Diego offense. This might mean Brady will have to shoulder the burden, which the Michigan grad has relished in his career.
This season Brady has far more weapons at his disposal, more like the back to back Super Bowl years. Once all the newcomers work enough together, New England could resemble a Fourth of July celebration.
Keys to the Game
Where New England has had an edge over San Diego is they are one of the few teams in the NFL that can match the Chargers size and speed.
San Diego can often overwhelm teams with its collection of behemoths and many of these large human beings have the strength to negate others that have more speed.
The Patriots also possess one other intangible lacking in San Diego, confidence and belief at the most critical moments of a game. New England may lose, but are unwavering in their belief they are the best team.
Even with that said, emotion can overcome many areas and the Chargers know they can’t change last season. Nonetheless they want to send a very stern message in 2007 and possibly later should they meet again.
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