You have to love the parody in the NFL, especially in the AFC West. The Chargers are still in the thick of things even after recording their worst start in 10 years. The Chargers usually wait until January to start losing games they should win, but they have started that pattern early this season and find themselves in a 2-4 hole. If the Patriots play defense like they did in the second half last week, Norv Turner could find himself back in the crosshairs. The (2-4) San Diego Chargers need to get things turned around at Qualcomm Stadium when they host the resurgent (4-1) New England Patriots, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST.
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The New England Patriots now have a legitimate threat to compete with in the AFC East in the New York Jets. Gone are the days of the Patriots wrapping up this division by seasons half. Brady is having his customary year, completing 67.5 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns against four interceptions. With an armada of players around him, scoring 30.8 points per game, the Patriots present plenty of challenges on offense. Speedy receiver/returner Brandon Tate will test San Diego’s progress on special teams. Tate has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in five games and averages 32.6 yards per return. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski is second in the NFL with 13 touchbacks. Rookie punter Zoltan Mesko is third in the NFL in net punting average. The Patriots won’t make it easy for the Chargers. Super Bowl champions three times this decade and undefeated in the regular season in another year, the Patriots will bring some of the most-recognized names in the NFL to Southern California in Head Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Wes Welker.
The Chargers are in trouble and gone are the days that San Diego could lean on LaDainian Tomlinson or Shawne Merriman to right the ship. If this thing is won on special teams, you can be sure that it won’t be by the Chargers, who have had three punts blocked, one field goal try blocked, two kickoffs returned on them for touchdowns and one punt run back on them for a score. The Chargers have been an OK home team, and no doubt their status as slight (-3) favorites in this battle against New England reflects that. But they have been absolutely dismal on the road, especially on special teams, and to make matters worse their four losses (Kansas City, St. Louis, Seattle and Oakland) came against mediocre teams with mediocre quarterbacks. At last check the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady didn’t qualify as mediocre. The Chargers are bidding for their third consecutive win against the Patriots at home but head into the latest meeting banged up as their schedule really starts to get tough. The Chargers gave up a season-high seven sacks of Phillip Rivers to the Rams last week. And two of San Diego’s key offensive players are hurting with tight end Antonio Gates nursing a toe injury and wide receiver Malcom Floyd dealing with a hamstring problem. Meantime, the Chargers had to deal with another special teams issue, this time involving the critical place-kicking position. San Diego signed veteran Kris Brown to fill in for Nate Kaeding, who aggravated a groin strain when he slipped trying to kick a field goal that was blocked last week in St. Louis.
Patriots vs Chargers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New England Patriots +2.5
@ San Diego Chargers -2.5
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Patriots vs Chargers Betting Predictions for Week 7:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – This line baffles me, but at the same time sort of scares me. The odds makers have the inferior team here laying points against one of the more dominant teams in the league. It has been well documented that the Patriots do not take playing the underdog lightly as they are a combined 74-45 ATS as an underdog since 1992. The San Diego Chargers have shown no signs as of late that they are about to produce and can actually keep pace in a game against a heavyweight opponent. The Chargers also have a host of issues when it comes to dealing with the Patriots. In fact, San Diego is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games when playing New England. More over, San Diego is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games and they have never covered a game in which they are favored by a field goal in four years. New England’s Tom Brady has won three consecutive games against San Diego and I expect him to grab his fourth this Sunday afternoon. We will consider snagging the points and the Patriots in this one, the Chargers just have too many problems right now to actually have a chance.
Game Total Prediction – This is a bit of a perplexing spot here. We have the leagues highest scoring offense in the Patriots matched up against the leagues most dominant defense. Both of these teams have gone OVER in every game of their schedule thus far expect for one game. However, I see this game playing out fairly tight and I believe both teams with execute safe, systematic game plans that focus on the run. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Diego’s last 6 games when playing New England. The Chargers most potent scoring threat, TE Antonio Gates, is questionable with a toe ailment so this will severely hamper San Diego’s chances of putting up points. The last time the Patriots visited Qualcomm, back in 2008, they were stymied and only able to light up the scoreboard for 10 points. I would recommend taking a strong look at the UNDER in this AFC clash. Cheers!
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