AFC Game Of The Week
Patriots (9-3) at Chargers (8-4)
Patriots: The winning streak was snapped at seven games. Despite that, they are still the best team in the AFC. Since that dreaded loss to the Chiefs in September, Sunday was the most I’ve seen the Patriots struggle to protect Brady. Green Bay really mixed it up and applied constant pressure on him and made him uncomfortable in the pocket. A few weeks back, everybody said the Patriots had the one seed locked up in the AFC playoff picture. After the loss on Sunday and Denver winning in Kansas City, they are both tied with the same record at 9-3 but New England owns the head to head tie breaker due to their victory over the Broncos in week 8. The Patriots defense has been great all season long. Revis and Browner have made this secondary one of the best in the league. Sunday night, they will deal with a very young and athletic receiving core for the San Diego Chargers.
Chargers: They saved their season on Sunday in Baltimore. The Chargers struggled for a majority of the game but then they got it together when it mattered and scored 21 unanswered points against a Ravens team fighting for a spot in the AFC playoff picture. The running game has received the boost its needed from Ryan Mathews. He’s very key for them down the stretch. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Chargers would be in as a Wild Card. They’ve cooled off some since their hot start at the beginning of the season but I feel this is one team that can give both the Patriots and Broncos a run for their money. Rivers has become Mr. December. He has a record of 30-6 in the month that matters most. This is the beginning of a tough stretch of games for San Diego. The Patriots come to town Sunday night, they have another battle with Peyton and the Broncos, they’ll stay in state to face San Francisco and they close the season out in Kansas City.
Prediction: This is a huge game for both teams. There’s no margin for error for New England moving forward. They need that number one seed. Force Peyton and Denver to come to your place to decide the conference. The Patriots have to limit Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen to win this game. The Chargers are going from playing one of the worst secondaries in football to one of the best. Run the ball and force Brady to throw off his back foot. New England simply doesn’t lose two games in a row. I like the Patriots on the road. Patriots 28 Chargers 23