2007 Season NFL Football Past Picks
January 20, 2008
San Diego at New England
Sunday 01/20 03:00 PM Eastern
The Chargers are playing their best football of the season right now. The biggest problem they have on Sunday is the injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Three key offensive components are battling fresh injuries (Rivers, Gates and Tomlinson). The Chargers recent surge however has more to do with their defense than their offense. They have allowed just one team to top 20 points in their last eight games, and are allowing just 13 ppg in this stretch. Antonio Cromartie, who didn't start in the first matchup between these teams (38-14 Pats win), has emerged as a Pro Bowler. They come to Foxboro with an eight game winning streak. We must point out they were riding an 11 game winning streak last season and lost to this same Patriots squad. The Patroits played about as good as any team in NFL history through their first 10 games, where they averaged 41.1 ppg. Teams began to make adjustments, taking away the deep threats, which has slowed them. But Brady has been patient, and taking what is given, and the Pats continue to win, but maybe not as impressively. They have gone from the NFL's best ever offense at 41.1 ppg, to a very good offense at 30.4 ppg over their last seven games. The defense has also shown signs of age and decline as the season has progressed as they have allowed 20.1 ppg in the the last seven games. The weather conditions Sunday are going to be a factor. The temperatures will be falling through the teens during the game, with winds gusting over 30 MPH. Not many expected this Chargers group to go in and beat Indy for the second time this season, but they got it done. Does that show that this team is coming of age, or was it just a good match-up with their 3-4 giving Manning problems? They have now won three straight vs the Colts, and dropped the 4th in OT. The Patriots strength is their passing game but San Diego is a perfect 10-0 ATS the past three seasons vs. teams that pass for 235+ yards per game and 10-1 ATS this season vs. teams that complete 61%+ of their passes. But, under Bill Belichick, the Pats are 9-1 ATS at home vs. teams at 60%+ SU in late-season play. Did the Pats peak too early, as they have had trouble scoring the way they did earlier? Are teams catching up with this offense? Is the defense aging before our eyes? There are lots of questions to be answered, and many hard to answer. The Chargers are peaking at the right time, but can they do this without Rivers, Gates and LT at 100%? In the same sense, New England on any given Sunday can just overwhelm the opponent, no matter how good. There are too many question marks and we will pass on this one and watch what should be an entertaining game that could go either way.