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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: SD 21, NE 27

This should be the Game of the Week. It has to be. Two of the most powerful teams square off after meeting in the playoffs last year when the Patriots won 24-21 in San Diego and knocked out the best record team with all the home field advantage. Bad blood, yelling, cursing - even Tomlinson got into the act. These two teams are destined to become hated rivals and playing in New England this time only makes it harder on the Chargers. If you only watch one game this weekend, this should be it and it comes as the night game on Sunday too. This is a replay of the game that got Marty Schottenheimer fired.

San Diego Chargers (1-0)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 14-3 -5.5 42.5
2 @NE 16-Sep +3.5 47
3 @GB 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 KC 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 @DEN 7-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
6 OAK 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 HOU 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 @MIN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 IND 11-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
11 @JAC 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 BAL 25-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
13 @KC 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @TEN 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DET 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 DEN 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 @OAK 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
SD at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     250,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 70,1 50  
TE Antonio Gates   80,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   50,1  
WR Craig Davis   50  
WR Malcolm Floyd   20  
PK Nate Kaeding 3 XP    
Pregame Notes: The Chargers have plenty of motivation to win this game but will have to keep emotions under wraps in this road challenge. Tomlinson and company were bottled up by the Bears for most of the game and there is a new offense being installed which also accounts for lesser numbers from the passing game. No doubt that there will be plenty of Tomlinson but the pivotal aspect of this game is which defense can defend the pass the best.

Quarterback: Going against an aggressive Bears defense last week, Philip Rivers was held to only 190 passing yards and one interception, He also lost a fumble. He connected well with Gates but no one else and the Chargers had to rely on Tomlinson for the only scoring pass. Rivers will get better but this will be a tough game that he will have to step up to compete. The new passing scheme is wise enough to use Gates but not yet diversifying beyond him.

Rivers threw for 230 yards and one interception in the playoff meeting with the Pats last year.

Running Backs: While LaDainian Tomlinson only rushed for a paltry 25 yards on 17 carries last week, he did score once and added seven catches for 51 yards and even threw another touchdown pass. The lack of rushing yards was more about the Bears defense than Tomlinson.

Tomlinson ended his record setting season of 2006 when he gained 123 yards on 23 carries and scored twice against the Pats. He also was the leading receiver with 64 yards on two receptions thanks to a 58 yard catch and run.

Wide Receivers: Refreshing with Vincent Jackson, Craig Davis and Malcolm Floyd didn't amount to much against the Bears since they combined for only five catches for 43 yards. With a new passing scheme and new receivers, this offense will be all about Gates and Tomlinson for a while longer.

Jackson only had two catches for 43 yards against the Patriots last January.

Tight Ends: Nothing wrong with Antonio Gates this year. He already started the season with nine catches for 107 yards and a score to lead the position in the league.

Gates turned in six catches for 61 yards against the Patriots last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots almost always have a great rush defense and more so when they play at home. After last week, you can be sure that Tomlinson gets all the attention and should be held to lower rushing numbers that will be compensated for by being a receiver as well.

Rivers goes against what is probably only an average pass defense now but one that can make their own opportunities. Rivers isn't struggling so much as just not hitting his stride yet but he'll need to step up this week and use those wideouts more plus Gates as given. The Chargers have this game circled on their calendar but played in New England just makes it much more challenging .

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 29 6 32 2 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 23 4 23 15 2 1


New England Patriots (1-0)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYJ 38-14 -6.5 40.5
2 SD 16-Sep -3.5 47
3 BUF 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @CIN 1-Oct MON 8:30 PM
5 CLE 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @DAL 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 @MIA 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 WAS 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 @IND 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @BUF 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 PHI 25-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
13 @BAL 3-Dec MON 8:30 PM
14 PIT 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 NYJ 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 MIA 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @NYG 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NE vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     300,3
RB Laurence Maroney 70    
RB Sammy Morris 40 20  
TE Ben Watson   30,1  
WR Randy Moss   80,1  
WR Donte Stallworth   50,1  
WR Wes Welker   100  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: Wow. So Randy Moss maybe is not done. The Patriots rushing game is not quite on track yet but the passing game was downright scary in the first game against an opponent that had last beaten them and knew the offense better than any other team. The Patriots were clearly one of the best teams in the league after Sunday was over and now they get to show the hometown fans what all these new toys look like in Boston.

Quarterback: Tom Brady looked like a kid on Christmas last week when he finally was able to use all his new receivers. The Jets had no answer. Brady completed 22 of 28 passes for 297 yards and three scores and seemed challenged only to keep from constantly grinning.

Brady threw for 280 yards and two scores against the Chargers last January but had three interceptions. That was with the old set of receivers.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney's debut as the feature back only produced 72 yards on 20 carries but he had several nice runs. A slight surprise was that Sammy Morris was given 11 carries and he gained 54 yards so the sharing scenario continues with the depth charts just advanced one place with Dillon gone. The Patriots never even threw a pass to Maroney last week but then again there was no need.

The Patriots only gained 51 rushing yards between four different runners in San Diego last season.

Wide Receivers: Errr... Randy Moss is back. Maybe back with a vengeance if one game means much. He totaled nine catches for 183 yards to lead the league last week and his touchdown pass came while being tripled covered (albeit inadequately). Wes Welker also scored and had the same number of targets as Moss but Moss caught every single pass thrown to him. Welker settled for six receptions for 61 yards. Donte Stallworth only had one catch and two throws but how much do you want? Amazing what a good quarterback can do for a wideout's production, eh? Moss is currently on pace for almost 3000 receiving yards this year and while that won't happen, I think, he will certainly be commanding attention now that only opens up every other receiver.

Both Gaffney (10-103) and Caldwell (7-80) had nice games against the Bolts last January with both of them scoring.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson only had two catches last week for just nine yards but one went for a score. Watson was held to only one catch for nine yards against the Chargers last season.

Match Against the Defense: Expect the great rush defense of the Chargers to keep Maroney to moderate numbers, particularly since Morris is getting so much playing time. The difference here will be how much the Chargers drop back and give Maroney room which could happen a lot.

Brady faces a secondary that gave him 280 yards and two scores last year in San Diego and now he has far better receivers at home. Look for nice numbers again this week. If Randy Moss goes nuts again, be very afraid. This week should involve Stallworth more and keep Welker busy as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 4 10 3 7 10 8
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 2 5 6 18 8 18

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