By: Derek Havens
With Sunday’s match-up between the Chargers & Patriots rapidly approaching, I thought I would share some quick points to think about for the upcoming game.
- This will be a tough task for this young Patriots squad. Traveling from coast-to-coast is not the easiest task in the NFL and for many of these rookies this is their first true west coast game.
- While the Chargers are going into week 7 with a 2-4 record on the year, they have been exceptional at home. Blowing out both the Jaguars and Cardinals with a combined score of 79-23. While these may not be the strongest teams in the league, the Chargers are coming off an embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Rams last week – and are likely looking for a little revenge.
- I think this could be an important win for the Patriots. In the last year and a half the only real road victory was a few weeks ago against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. Another win on the road could start to establish confidence in these young players as they continue to make strides.
- The Patriots could not catch the Chargers at a better point in the season. The Chargers have a several key injuries. Nate Kaeding (K) is out, Legadu Naanee and Malcom Floyd (WRs) are both doubtful, and Antonio Gates (TE) is a game-time decision with a toe injury. In the Norv Turner era in San Diego, 0 out of 24 players have suited up when listed as doubtful.
- One aspect of this Chargers team that worries me is their passing game. Through six games, Phillip Rivers has already thrown for over 2,000 yards. Combine that with New England’s 29th ranked pass defense in the league and that is an area San Diego will likely try and exploit.
- This could be Jermaine Cunningham’s break out game. The Chargers have had protection problems all year and he could be looking at a big day along with the rest of the defense. The Rams sacked Rivers seven times alone last week. After missing the pre-season with a lower leg injury, Cunningham has slowly progressed through the season. Look for him to make an impact.
With all of these thoughts taken into consideration. I believe the Patriots can win this game. While I don’t believe it will be a blow out on either side, I see the Patriots pulling it out by a close margin on the road: Patriots – 31, Chargers – 27.