Extra motivation

No one likes giving the opposition venom for the locker room bulletin board. And the Chargers have given the Bills one - though not directly.

The Chargers are finally winning games and finally getting respect for their game. So being a double-digit favorite for Sunday's game against the visiting Buffalo Bills is a plus, right?

Not so, said Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

"It is great for the fans and people around San Diego," Tomlinson said. "But for us I think it makes it a little harder. When a team sees that, it makes them play a little harder. It's tough when you are a team that is supposed to win the game."

The Chargers, 10-point favorites on Sunday, are that team this weekend. But really, Tomlinson said the opponent and point spread means little. What means a lot is the Chargers ending the season on an up note, hopefully sweeping their final seven games to secure a playoff berth.

Now is the time. Three of the Chargers' next four games are at Qualcomm Stadium, with the Raiders and Dolphins following the Bills.

"That obviously is very important," Tomlinson said. "We like to win most of games at home."

And that hasn't happened, which is among the causes for the team being but a game over .500. Last year, the Chargers rolled at home, compiling a 7-1 regular season record. This year, they are 2-2.

But they should prevail Sunday, with the Bills winless on the road in four games and having one of the NFL's worst run defenses.

On paper, it seems the Chargers and Tomlinson will run the ball down the Bills' throat. But Tomlinson doesn't buy the notion that the Bills' are as bad as their No. 31 run-defense ranking.

"It's kind of misleading because they will give up a big run, then they will shut the guy down for 1 or 2 yards," said Tomlinson, who has rushed for 835 yards, the sixth-highest in the NFL. "I don't really get caught up in the stats and all that kind of stuff. People get geared up to stop our running game, that is just the way it is."

The Chargers would like to be the way they were. The streaked to their first AFC West title since 1994 last year when peeling off nine wins in their final 10 games.

After enjoying their bye week last Sunday, their plan is to finish strong one again.

"We are refreshed," Tomlinson said, "and ready for this seven-game stretch."


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