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Friday, January 12, 2007

Patriots Vs. Chargers Preview

Isn't it interesting that once again the Patriots are playing the game of the week. This week the Pats opponent is the AFC best 14 - 2 San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have two reasons for their success - an offense that scores points like their playing basketball and a defense that treats quarterbacks like piñatas. The Chargers overall are pretty strong in all areas of their team (remember, their 14 & 2 for a reason) but just as any other team they do have problems - only smaller ones.

First problem that the Chargers have is their secondary - expect Tom Brady to put up some good numbers on this unit. Quentin Jammer and Drayton Florence the Bolts CB's aren't the worse defensive backs in the NFL but they certainly aren't among the best in the league. It’s going to take an above average game from these cornerbacks if the Chargers want to make Tom Brady lose his composure and get frustrated like he did in the games vs. Denver and Miami.

The second area of weakness for the Chargers is the inexperience of Phillip Rivers. How well the first year quarterback will play the first playoff game of his career is a complete mystery. Some quarterbacks have a hard time adjusting to the stress of the playoffs - Ben Rosenburger who performed well all season played terrible in both his first and second playoff performances before he settled down a year later and won the Super Bowl. My point is that Rivers could do really well or really terrible. No one knows. The time off in between the regular season and this week that he’s had to sit around thinking about all the things that could go wrong probably doesn't help his game readiness either.

Now as far as the Patriots; they have to throw the ball effectively to win this game. This includes the short passes and screens that the Pats excel at. One way to shut down Shawn Merriman (the Chargers best defensive player, OLB, 17 sacks on the season) is to send out 5 receivers wide and then force the Chargers to use Merriman in coverage on a running back that is most likely faster then him. Another importing thing for the Patriots to do is pressure Phillip Rivers and get into his head early in the game. Squish the pocket and make him lob the ball up for grab and hope Asante Samuel is somewhere near it. Oh another small thing - stop LaDainian Tomlinson. I believe that just like the Colts shut down Larry Johnson last week the Pats can stop MVP and Offensive Player of the year Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (LT). Bill Belichick was able to shut down Marshall Faulk when he was at his best in Super Bowl XXXVI with his defense game plan, he'll have a plan to minimize the damage that Tomlinson will do.

My prediction is that the Patriots will win 11 to 4 with the game clinching points coming off a tipped pass that Tom Brady will catch and run with for a 34 yard touchdown. The Chargers will score their four points on a field goal and a missed touchdown and completed extra point....

Stop the run and the game is won

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Anonymous Conrad said...

Hey Tash, this is a great article - very well written and exciting. I think you might have a future in sports newswriting...?

Saturday, 13 January, 2007  
Anonymous Tom said...

they won!!!!

Sunday, 14 January, 2007  
Blogger Rex Tyrannus said...

that was close!

Monday, 15 January, 2007  
Anonymous Haydn Lewis said...

Wow, one good game.

I predicte that the Patriots will win 26-15 against the Colts. I'm not sure which team I want to win. They are both tied for my second favorite. I really like Peyton.

I think the Oakland Raiders will win next years Super Bowl. ;-)

Monday, 15 January, 2007  
Blogger Tash said...

If the Raiders win the SB next year then I'll become a Red Sox fan....

Tuesday, 16 January, 2007  

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