Coming off a home win against the Vikings, the Chargers take their show on the road in week two as they take on the premiere team in the AFC – the New England Patriots.
The Pats picked apart the Dolphins on Monday night, as Tom Brady helped the Pats pile up a team-record 622 total yards, as the Pats beat the Fins in Miami 38-24.
It will be up to the Chargers defense to come up with a game plan to squash Brady, and to put pressure on him like they did last week against Donovan McNabb. The Chargers D allowed the fewest yards in the NFL last weekend.
Brady became the 11th player in NFL history to throw for 500 or more yards in a game with a career-high 517 – fifth-most all-time – and four touchdowns. That included a 99-yard touchdown to Wes Welker, who finished with eight catches for 160 yards and two scores.
If the Chargers are going to come into New England and win, they have to pressure Brady on defense, and on offense they have to find a way to run the ball with Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews. Last week against Minnesota, Tolbert had 35 rushing, 58 through the air, and three scores. Mathews had 45 yards rushing.
Time of possession is going to be key. If the Chargers can keep the ball away from Brady, it will give them a much better shot to gain their second win of the year.
Brady, who has thrown 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while going 5-2 overall versus San Diego, looks to extend his regular-season home winning streak to 29 games. His current 28-game run is already the longest by any quarterback since 1950.
The game will also come down to Philip Rivers against the Pats D. Last week Rivers went 33 of 48 for 335 yards with two TDs and two interceptions while helping the Chargers overcome a 17-7 halftime deficit against the Vikings.
If the Pats fall behind, it’s going to be a long day. They have to find a way – offense, defense or special teams, to keep this game close. The Bolts also have a new kicker – Nick Novak, who will kick for the first time this Sunday after replacing Nate Keading.
The Pats have taken four of the last five meetings between these clubs, including victories in a divisional playoff contest in the 2006 season and the AFC championship game the following year. The Patriots won 23-20 at San Diego last October 24th.
Brady was 19 for 32 with a touchdown in that contest but was sacked four times as the Patriots beat the Chargers despite recording a season-low 179 total yards. Since that victory, Brady has thrown 30 TD passes and one interception in his last 12 regular-season games.
Right now it’s just too much Brady, and the Pats are simply so good at home, it’s tough to go against them. Bolts will keep it close for awhile, but this game goes to New England. Patriots 34 Chargers 23