Enough talk already. It’s Thursday and I’m dying for some football. This weekend will be the best of the playoffs, as the AFC is loaded with a full docket of quality games. The NFC, well, is the NFC, but at least it’s football. You could watch Figure Skating if you’re so inclined!
But aside from the other matchups, the one we’re obviously focused on will start at 4:30pm on Sunday. The Chargers, 14-2 and built to win will meet up against our Patriots, a team clinging on to their last tastes of success. Who will win? How will they do it? Who will come up big? These questions need answering, and I’ve asked Andrews to answer them with me. First, let’s start with the Keys to the Game. Andrews states:
Obviously the Pats need to shut down LT. So much so that I don’t think he will be all that big a factor. You take this Patriot D-line and key them in on stopping the run as much as they’re going to have to to stop LT, and they’ll do it. They’ve been that good. What I actually think this game is going to come down to is being able to stop Rivers. Not that I’m all THAT high on him. It’s just that I haven’t felt all that great all year about the Pats ability to stop the pass and get off the field on third down. THAT is what’s been killing them all year on defense.
On offense it’s very simple. KEEP THE CHARGERS OFF BRADY!
I agree with him. For the Patriots to have any chance, they need to neutralize LT. The fact is the team has relied so heavily on LT all year that the Patriots absolutely must stop him in order to disrupt the Chargers. If they can’t, I would forget about advancing. I also agree with Andrews about Rivers. My feeling is he will really be the wild card of this game. Let’s say the Patriots can be moderately successful in stopping LT. Even with that success, they STILL need to pressure Rivers to make mistakes, and as Andrews has pointed out, they haven’t been very good at getting the offense off the field. Look at what Pennington was able to do last week on several drives. Don’t be fooled by the LT talk. While he is their MVP, Rivers will be the one who’ll make the difference either way.
Who does Andrews think will win?
I believe the Pats will shut down LT to the surprise of a lot of people and that Rivers will give them more trouble than people think. I believe the Pats offense, as they did against the Jets will be able to devise a game plan that will keep Brady out of too much trouble, perhaps running a good portion of the first quarter.
Final Score – Pats 27, Chargers 17
This is where Andrews and I differ.
My thoughts are this: I believe the Patriots will be able to disrupt LT’s game. He probably won’t get 100 yards on the ground, but I think he will score and he will get some first downs at key moments in the game. My wild card, the X Factor in all this is Philip Rivers. I think he’s going to do extremely well. For whatever reason, the Chargers have been one of those teams that has all the answers for a team like the Patriots. While I don’t think they will win the Super Bowl, I think they will be able to move past the Patriots. I like San Diego in this one, 34-17.
The matchup to watch for on Sunday will not be how the Patriots offense matches up with San Diego. We know the Pats can score against them. The real test is against their offense. Can the defense man up against San Diego and shut down their weapons? Andrews says yes, while I say no. What do you think? Talk about it in the forum. We’ll have more news and info through the weekend, so keep checking us out! Go Pats!