New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers
Betting Line: Chargers -3 o/u 47
John J. Raspanti
New England travels to San Diego to play the Chargers in a key AFC matchup. The Patriots victory last week over the Ravens improved there record to 4-1. The Chargers on the other hand are a mess right now. They’re 2-4 and in last place in the AFC West Division. The Patriot offense is ranked 10th in the league. Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 67 percent of his passes. He’s thrown 10 touchdown passes and only 4 interceptions. On the ground the Pats are led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis who has GAined 235 yards. Wide receivers Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker have been money for Brady. Welker has 33 catches while Hernandez has 22. Newcomer Deion BraNCh made an auspicious debut, catching 9 passes for 98 yards last week. The Patriots defense is there achilles heel. The unit is ranked 29th in the league. Linebacker Jerod Mayo leads the team with 61 tackles followed by safety Patrick Chong with 45. Youth and inexperieNCe have hurt the defense, along with an inability to consistently rush the passer.
The Chargers number one ranked offense might be licking there chops in anticipation. Quarterback Phillip Rivers is having a good year completing 62 percent of his passes. Rivers quarterback rating of 100 is actually a touch higher than Brady. But he’s also been sacked 18 times, and trails only Chicago’s Jay Cutler in that dubious category. The Chargers main running back is Mike Tolbert who has GAined almost 300 yards. The injury bug hit the Chargers receivers, as Antonio GAtes and Malcolm Floyd went down. GAtes will probably play Sunday, while Floyd’s availability could be a Game time decision. Patrick Clayton and Buster Davis will be ready if Floyd can’t go. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Kevin Burnett has 32 tackles and 5 sacks. Safety Steve Gregory is next with 30 tackles. The Chargers defense is also ranked as the best in the league making there 2-4 start even more perplexing.
There’s some desperation in San Diego. At 2-4, there’s no room left for error. Statistically, the Chargers are far better than a 2-4 team. Bad breaks and special teams factor into their 4 losses. Can’t knock the Pats either. They managed to put points on the board last week against one of the better defenses in the NFL, the Ravens. Both teams are going to get their points here. While we lean towards the Chargers minus the spot here, we simply don’t trust them. At least not yet. So we’ll make a small play here on the over in what figures to be a shootout. 8 of the last 11 Games between these two have gone over the total. We’ll call for one more.
Pats/Chargers over 47