San Diego Chargers (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
VENUE: Gillette Stadium
Weather: Foxboro, Mass
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
PREDICTION: Patriots 37-27
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Chargers want to create more
offensive balance and be more physical this season, and no better time
to assert both principles than on the road against a Patriots attack
capable of wearing down any defense. RBs Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews
combined for 36 touches last week. If they can approach that number, it
will create more one-on-one for the wideouts downfield, where the
Chargers will enjoy big mismatches. Brady is effectively using TEs Rob Gronkowski and
to attack the seams and underneath
routes, creating more single coverage against his wideouts. The
Chargers are counting on DEs Vaughn
Martin and rookie Corey
take over for injured Luis
Castillo on the right side.
FAST FACTS: The Patriots have a nine-game
regular-season winning streak and have won nine consecutive home
openers, while QB Tom
Brady has won an NFL-record 28 consecutive
regular-season home games. ... The Patriots won the last meeting,
23-20, at San Diego on Oct. 24 last year. ... Chargers TE Antonio Gates
needs five receptions to pass Kellen
Winslow (541) for second-most in
franchise history behind Charlie Joiner's 586. ... Patriots RB
14 rushing TDs since the start of last season is
second in the NFL behind Arian Foster's 16.
SERIES HISTORY: 36th regular-season
meeting. Patriots lead series, 19-14-2. The Chargers have lost four of
their last five games with the Patriots, and that includes the
heartbreaking, 21-12, loss in the AFC title game. Of course it was in
2006 that the Patriots came back from trailing by eight with eight
minutes remaining in an AFC divisional game. The loss not only bounced
the top-seeded Chargers from the playoffs, but cost Marty
Schottenheimer his job, despite a 14-2 regular-season record. The
Chargers' lone championship season came in 1963, when they defeated the
Boston Patriots, 51-10, in old Balboa Stadium in the American Football
BY THE NUMBERS: 906 -- Number of passing yards the Patriots
and Dolphins combined for on Monday night. That set an NFL record for
most passing yards in a single game.
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Going to be new faces among some key players when the
Chargers face the Patriots on Sunday.
Defensive end Luis Castillo is out for an extended
period of time and he'll be replaced by Vaughn Martin.
Kaeding is on IR after suffering a
season-ending knee injury. Nick
Novak is being asked to fill a huge
Keep an eye on the Chargers' secondary as it will
be tested by Tom Brady. Among the key players not normally in the
spotlight could be nickel back Dante
Hughes and Marcus
backup rookie cornerback who'll be pressed into action with the
Patriots going to multiple-receiver sets.
Crayton (ankle) continues to work in
his bid to be healthy for Sunday; he missed the opener. If Crayton is
active, it might mean Bryan
Mouton (shoulder) isn't practicing and
won't be in the mix again this week.
Jackson could be in for a big game,
one game after a similar sized pass-catcher, Miami's Brandon Marshall,
exposed the Patriots' undersized cornerbacks. The same is true for
Jackson's teammate, the lanky Malcom
English is working, but coach Norv
Turner always hems and haws when asked about his chances of going
Sunday. English is a former first-round pick slowed by leg and foot
Brown (hamstring) continued to
practice but he could be a healthy inactive on Sunday.
Koppen likely to miss six to 10 weeks due to an
ankle injury, LG Dan
Connolly will serve as the backup center until
For now, it's business as usual offensively,
particularly after an impressive offensive display in Monday's win at
Miami. The Patriots got tremendous production from their tight ends,
which will likely continue Sunday against the Chargers.
As for personnel changes, the Patriots signed
former Miami offensive lineman Donald
Thomas to add depth. Thomas has
played three seasons, including one with Detroit.
The Patriots also released OL Thomas Welch from
the 53-man roster and signed TE Garrett
Mills and LB Jeff Tarpinian to
the practice squad while releasing LB Aaron Lavarias from the practice
--Recently acquired LB A.J. Edds has been
wearing the black jersey in practice this week, which indicates he was
one of last week's most productive practice players in terms of
preparing the starters for what they faced in Miami.
--RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis entered the Miami game
tied for 10th place in franchise with Mosi Tatupu with 18 rushing
touchdowns and added a 4-yard rushing touchdown to move into ninth
--QB Tom Brady threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to
TE Rob Gronkowski early in the second quarter to move into sole
possession of 10th place on the NFL's all-time passing list with 262
career touchdowns. He added three more touchdowns for a career total of
Welker extended his streak to 62 straight
games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots. He needs
two more games with at least one reception to surpass the team mark of
63 set by TE Ben Coates.
--WR Matthew Slater registered his first NFL
reception with a 46-yard catch from QB Tom Brady in the first quarter.
-- OT Sebastian
Vollmer has been limited in
practice this week due to a back injury, but all signs point to him
returning to the lineup Sunday against San Diego, which limits rookie
to more of a backup role.
-- CB Leigh
Bodden is back in practice after
missing Wednesday's session with a back injury. He should be ready for
-- C Dan Koppen was not at practice and likely
won't be for a while due to a broken ankle that will probably sideline
him for at least six weeks.
-- DL Mike
Wright reportedly suffered another
concussion in Monday's win at Miami. This is problematic considering
the issues he dealt with last year regarding concussions. No timetable
on his return.
Notebook: Time to Make a Statement
Youngster Drawing Brady Comparisons
Is Key For Secondary
The Offensive Line a Necessity
Forget About The Patriots
Gridiron Report Week 2: Chargers
Trouble: Patriots TE's A Big Threat
Other Games This Weekend:
(0-1) at Pittsburgh
(1-0) at Buffalo Bills
(1-0) at Washington
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(0-1) at Minnesota Vikings
(1-0) at New York Jets
(1-0) at New Orleans
Green Bay Packers
(1-0) at Carolina Panthers
(1-0) at Tennessee Titans
Kansas City Chiefs
(0-1) at Detroit Lions
(0-1) at Indianapolis
(0-1) at San Francisco
(1-0) at Denver Broncos
San Diego Chargers
(1-0) at New England
(1-0) at Miami Dolphins
(1-0) at Atlanta Falcons
St. Louis Rams
(0-1) at New York Giants
Game Preview: Chargers @ Patriots
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