BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots face a tough opponent in the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
The CBSBoston Sports team weighs in on what the Pats need to do to beat the Chargers, and what to expect in their 2011 home opener.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Andy Gresh
The Patriots have to be able to handle the multiple sets and the motion. The defensive guys, especially in the back-end, of the secondary can’t get confused whether it’s running backs motioning out or wide receivers motioning in. That’s a big part of what Norv Turner likes to do. They also can’t allow the Chargers’ size at receiver to beat.
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Offensively the Patriots have a chance to run the football. They have to mix in the run game somewhat, because San Diego has a very good pass rush and you don’t want get Brady killed.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak
For the Patriots, Devin McCourty has to get better. The Miami Dolphins threw his way 15 times last week, nine of which went for completions for over 140 yards. It was a big receiver in Brandon Marshall, and he’ll have another bigger receiver (who is probably better than Marshall) in Vincent Jackson this weekend. We’ll see how he responds against another bigger, physical wide receiver.
Offensively I still think it’s all about Danny Woodhead and these tight ends. If Ochocinco is on the bus maybe he’ll get a couple catches this week. We’ll see.
WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton
We all like shootouts, but do we like them back-t0-back? We can’t expect Tom Brady to put up another 517 yards passing, so it’s time for the defense to step up and do their job so he doesn’t have to.
As for the defensive backs, they have great hands. So we expect more interceptions, even if it is Philip Rivers who is making the throws.
Ochocinco needs to wake up and get going. He’s been in the system seven weeks now, we should expect more than one catch for 14 yards. Ocho, let loose and play your game.
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The offensive line has done a great job, even though they’re banged up. But the Chargers will be coming after Brady this week, their defense is no joke. For Brady to be effective, protection is key.
WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid
Believe it or not, this game is a hard one for me to pick. We know what Tom Brady did last week, but the thing that everybody is missing is the Pats defense let up 416 yards through the air, the fourth worst defensive effort this entire weekend. The Patriots did get pressure on the quarterback but the secondary got torched. They have to do better if the Pats are going to win this game.
I can’t expect the Patriots to come out and put up the same offensive numbers but Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are a problem for everybody. When the Pats have them both on the field, there is a mis-match somewhere.
I also expect Chad Ochcocinco to have a good game. After the heat he’s taken this week, I get the feeling Tom Brady may try to find him early. He needs to get up to speed. The more catches he gets and the crowd cheering for him, will increase his confidence.
The Chargers had the number one offense and defense last season so I expect this game to be close.
Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
So, what do you think the encore will look like? How do you follow up 517 yards and four touchdowns?
New England Patriots fans will find out Sunday when QB Tom Brady and the team play their home opener against the San Diego Chargers.
Both teams come in at 1-0. The Patriots beat the Dolphins in Miami and the Chargers, at home, erased a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the Donovan McNabb-led Minnesota Vikings.
The Chargers almost doubled up the number of total plays (77-43) and enjoyed a ridiculous advantage in time of possession (37:17 to 22:43).
Minnesota QB Donovan McNabb’s numbers are downright comical. He threw it up 15 times, completed 7 for a whopping 39 yards (2.6 yards/per completion). His first completion of the afternoon was to the wrong team. San Diego’s Shaun Phillips hauled it in and brought it to the Viking 6 yard line. Three plays later, Phillip Rivers has a one yard touchdown to his credit.
McNabb’s quarterback rating for the game was 47.9.
The question then, for this Chargers’ team, is ‘are they that solid defensively or are the number’s skewed because it was McNabb they faced?’
As always, it is somewhere in the middle. The Chargers, with the addition of Takeo Spikes, are a tough, attacking defense. They usually give Tom Brady and the offense fits. This Sunday should be no different.
The Chargers offense is led by a skilled quarterback but the aforementioned Rivers did have two interceptions against the Vikings. He isn’t as accurate as Brady. Whether he is as savvy as Brady is an argument I’ll leave for others. However, it does seem he can be had in crunch time.
As for the Patriots, expect to see the no-huddle offense once again. Whether it is used to the extent it was in Miami remains to be seen. Usually, with an aggressive defense like San Diego’s, mis-direction plays and screens are the order of the day. This is the type of game that Kevin Faulk thrived in. Perhaps Danny Woodhead will pick up where Faulk left off.
Don’t expect Brady to be hanging 500 yards on the Chargers. I don’t believe the Patriots will be able to stretch the field as easily on Sunday as they did against the Dolphins.
The Patriots defense can’t give up 24 points. I think if the Chargers ring up that many points, they win the game.
Special teams could play a big part in swinging this game one way or the other. In week one, an eye-popping ten kicks were returned for touchdowns.
It will be close but I think the Patriots have far too many options and get the job done, 27-20.
Tune in to the Patriots-Chargers game Sunday at 4:15pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Tune in to Patriots Gameday at 11:30am on WBZ-TV and The Sports Hub’s pregame coverage, beginning at 1pm. After the game tune in to the Postgame show on 98.5, and to Patriots Fifth Quarter on TV38.