Free NFL Picks: New England at San Diego 10-24-2010

October 23, 2010

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New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers

Sunday October 24th, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: San Diego -3

Overview:

The 2-4 Chargers are undefeated at home, but they will be facing their biggest test of the season on Sunday when they take on the 4-1 Patriots. The Pats knocked off the Baltimore Ravens in overtime last week, giving them their most impressive victory of the season. Surprisingly, they still achieve an underdog status in this game against a team that has only beaten two teams this season.

Keys to the Game:

  • Bill Belichick may be the  smartest man in America. Everyone, including myself, thought he was out of his mind by giving up Randy Moss and obtaining virtually nothing except for a washed up Deion Branch. What I didn’t realize was that Branch wasn’t washed up at all. In fact, in his first game back in a Patriots uniform, he snagged nine Tom Brady passes and gained 98 yards. Brady has a go to guy without the diva mentality. Branch is a Belichick guy that Brady obviously still has a connection with on the football field. He is going up against a Chargers team that only allows 163.7 yards a game in the air. Antonio Cromarte is likely to slow Branch down, but Tom Brady is no stranger to sharing the wealth on the football field. Even if San Diego manages to control Branch, the same might not be said for the number of other targets Brady was favoring before Branch entered Patriots headquarters.
  • The Patriots have a young secondary, but it might not hurt them this Sunday when they take on the Chargers. Malcom Floyd is out this Sunday with a hamstring injury. This is great news for the Patriots, as it might slow down the number one passing offense in the league. Another guy who will be slowed by injury is Antonio Gates. Gates has a hamstring injury that makes him a game time decision. If Rivers doesn’t have his hall of fame tight end to go to when he gets in the red zone, his productivity is certain to falter. If matters weren’t bad enough, Legedu Naanee is also listed as questionable. The Chargers are digging to the bottom of the barrel in their receiving arsenal. Although they have been effective all year, their production is going to take a hit due to their injuries.
  • Ryan Matthews is probably coming back, which is perfect timing considering the injuries the Chargers have undergone. The Chargers don’t run to set up the pass, they pass to set up the run. It is hard to key on a running back like Mike Tolbert when there is a hall of fame tight end and an array of explosive receivers streaking down the field. The Chargers need to rely heavily on the run this week and while Tolbert proved he can contribute to the run game, he doesn’t have the skill set Ryan Matthews has. The Chargers need Matthews to have a big week to make up for the lack of a pass game.
  • The Chargers have the number one offense in the league and a top five defense, but they are going to struggle against the Patriots. Take a look at some of the teams the Chargers have played. The Rams, Seahawks, Raiders, Cardinals, Jaguars, and Chiefs are hardly a group of elite NFL teams. The fact that the Chargers have not been able to come away with at least three victories against this group of teams is down right embarrassing. Having the talent and putting up the numbers doesn’t always equate to a W for the Chargers. They are undefeated at home, but the two teams they played were the Cardinals and the Jaguars. These are the New England Patriots and if the Chargers think they are going to embarrass them like they embarrassed the Jaguars and the Cardinals, they have another thing coming.

Wrap Up:

This isn’t even close. This is my lock of the week no questions asked. The Patriots are definitely going to pull off the ‘upset’ when they go into San Diego. While San Diego might have the talent, they are banged up beyond recognition and they are facing a Super Bowl contender. They need to worry about competing against their terrible division before they get any sort of respect from me when they go up against a Super Bowl contender. I’m taking New England. The points aren’t even necessary.

Free NFL Pick: New England +3


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