NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-1)
at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-4)
Kickoff: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. EDT, Line: San Diego -3, Total: 47
After a dreadful 20-17 loss at St. Louis last week, the Chargers are tasked with beating the 4-1 Patriots, possibly without their top three receivers. TE Antonio Gates (toe) and WRs Malcom Floyd (hamstring) and Legedu Naanee (hamstring) are compromising what figured to be a great match-up for Philip Rivers against a weak New England secondary. Gates, who has never missed a game due to injury in his eight-year career, will be a game-time decision on Sunday. Floyd and Naanee are both listed as doubtful and will not play. Patrick Crayton and Craig Davis will likely be the starting wideouts. Odds.
The Patriots rank 29th in the NFL in passing defense, so these San Diego injuries are quite a relief. The offense is the reason New England is winning games. The Patriots got by just fine without Randy Moss in Week 6, as Tom Brady reunited with Deion Branch in a 23-20 overtime win over Baltimore. Branch caught nine passes for 98 yards and touchdown. The Pats lead the NFL with 30.8 PPG and are 10th in total yardage (354 YPG). Brady is having another solid season with a 67.5% completion rate, 10 TD and four picks. RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis has scored touchdowns in three straight games as New England’s rushing attack has been better than expected (123 YPG, 12th in NFL).
The Chargers have lost four of six games despite out-gaining their opponents by an average of 178 YPG. San Diego leads the NFL in both total offense (433 YPG) and total defense (255 YPG). Rivers has had two strong games against New England, throwing for 485 yards and five touchdowns (and two interceptions) while completing 65 percent of his attempts. Gates would be sorely missed on Sunday considering his gaudy season statistics: 31 receptions, 490 yards, seven touchdowns. Floyd has the same amount of targets as Gates (44) and has emerged as Rivers’ top wide receiver this season with a team-high 513 receiving yards. Since gaining 110 yards in the season opener, Naanee only has a total of 71 receiving yards in his past four games. Scores.
The Pats were hammered 30-10 in their last trip to San Diego, when Matt Cassel was under center. Tom Brady, though, has beaten the Chargers three straight times. But this FoxSheets trend shows why San Diego will prevail on Sunday.
Play Against – Road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (NEW ENGLAND) – off 1 or more consecutive unders, an excellent offensive team (>=27 PPG) against an average defensive team (18-23 PPG). (32-9 since 1983.) (78%, +22.1 units. Rating = 3*). Las Vegas odds.
The FoxSheets lean towards the Under on Sunday.
Bill Belichick is 25-11 UNDER (+12.9 Units) after having won 4 out of their last 5 games as the coach of NEW ENGLAND. The average score was NEW ENGLAND 24.8, OPPONENT 16.2 – (Rating = 2*).