Drew Brees enters his first redemption game. He had his worst outing as a Pro last week against Oakland and gets a boost from the return of Curtis Conway. Look for Brees to get the ball in Conway's hands early. The plus from Conway's absence was the emergence of rookie Eric Parker. If Brees can spread the ball around this unit should be effective. Antoine Winfield and Nate Clements will provide man-to-man coverage on the outside and are solid cover corners.
Vaughn Parker returns to anchor the right side of the line. His experience should help the other linemen get into a groove with their assignments. Toniu Fonoti returns to the starting lineup after being benched in the second half of last weeks game. The line should have a clear advantage over the Bills who are ranked 31st in the league in rush yards allowed per game (138.7). That could spell trouble for the Bills with LaDainian Tomlinson leading the Bolts resurgence. Tomlinson is third in the league in rushing with 1,375 yards rushing. London Fletcher, third in the NFL in tackles (116) will shadow Tomlinson and try to keep the cutback lanes closed.
Marcellus Wiley spoke this week like a man on a mission. He wants to get his sack totals up. He should have a more stationary target this week in quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe has been notorious throughout his career for holding onto the ball too long in the pocket and could be a constant target of pressure by this underachieving Charger defensive front. The Bills have allowed 44 sacks against on the season, 2nd worst in the NFL. Much like Brees, Bledsoe had a terrible game against New England throwing four picks. He is looking for a bounce back performance this week.
The Bills receivers should continue to put up good numbers vs. the Chargers secondary. The Bolts have been unable to contain many teams this season. With pressure from the front four and the linebacking crew the hope is they will force Bledsoe into making bad decisions. The Chargers will play with the safeties back to prevent the big play.
In all this the Chargers cannot overlook Travis Henry who is having a solid year. He has 1,168 yards rushing on the season and is also a threat receiving. Donnie Edwards will shadow him out of the backfield. The offensive line has been stout in run blocking this year and with their size advantage and the Chargers loss of Jamal Williams for the year they will try to take advantage.
When one unit gets going for the Bolts, another falters. Such is life for this anemic unit. Steve Christie coming back to Buffalo should help the kicking game as he will surely be pumped and will want to put on a good show. He is veteran enough to not allow that to affect his game. Mike Hollis is developing into a solid kicker for Buffalo. After early struggles he has connected on seven of his last eight attempts.
The punting matchup is a draw as both Darren Bennett and Brian Moorman provide consistent production.
Charlie Rogers has been solid in the return game bringing a kickoff back 90 yards for a score. Ronney Jenkins has had new life breathed into him since a benching a few weeks ago and is now providing the Chargers with good field position. His long on the year is 55 yards. Tim Dwight has taken over the punt return duties and has responded with an aggressive approach that has netted positive yards. He is averaging over 10 yards per return.
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