The Teams: New England Patriots (3-1) At San Diego Chargers (2-3)
The Terms: Regular Season Week 6
The Place: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
The Time: 8:15 pm
The Channel: NBC
3 Burning Questions:
- Will the Patriots get off to a fast start? Last week the Pats started slow and found themselves down 14-7 before long. Against a Chargers team with weapons like Philip Rivers and LaDanian Tomlinson, a slow start could see them down by three touchdowns, a hole they probably wouldn’t recover from. Hopefully the Pats can score the first points, particularly on the first drive. Ball control again will be important as Rivers and LT can beat you down the field in just one play. The defense has to get settled into a groove and a lot of that depends on the game plan the coaching staff put in place for the game.
- Where is the offense going to come from? This seems to be a common question early on this season as both the running game and passing game has been inconsistent. Matt Cassel finally hooked up with Moss on the long ball and the deep running attack d seemed to get on track despite another stinker from Laurence Maroney. The key to last week’s high point total was the offensive line as the hog mollies up front won the battle in the trenches and allowed the Pats to dominate the time of possession. Against a quick Chargers defense it will be vital to again win the trenches and protect Cassel. Both LaMont Jordan and Maroney are banged up so we’ll see a lot of Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris, which isn’t so much a bad thing.
- Will the California stay prove beneficial? The Patriots decided to stay in California for the duration of their two game west coast trip and did not come back east for practice/recovery. I think it will benefit the Patriots as they got away from the distractions at home and could relax in the sun in Cali. Road trips can bring teams together and seeing as the Patriots are five point underdogs this week, it’s a prime opportunity to circle the wagons and send the underachieving Chargers to 2-4.
The Chargers are a much more dangerous team than the 49ers and though the Patriots took care of business at Candlestick, it wasn’t easy. The Chargers have been beaten three times this season, twice on the last play of the game. I think the Patriots have to get off to a good start, but I get the feeling it may be a lot like San Fran last week. With Jordan doubtful and Maroney questionable the running game is going to struggle. Cassel performed just okay last week with his two interceptions and needs to continue building that relationship with Randy Moss. It’s set up for the Patriots to overcome the odds (and odds-makers), come together and beat the overrated Chargers. But I just see the Chargers establishing LT and opening up the passing game for Rivers. If the Pats get down early, it could be a blowout.
Chargers 31, Patriots 20
Tags: Kevin Faulk, Lamont Jordan, Laurence Maroney, Matt Cassel, Patriots, Randy Moss, Sammy Morris, San Diego Chargers