To try and get an inside view of the San Diego Chargers, the Patriots’ opponent Sunday, I asked Ernie Padaon of BoltBeat.com some questions about Sunday’s game. He had some good insights into the Chargers and what he expects to see Sunday. He also asked me some questions about the game and the Patriots, and you can view my responses here. Here is what he had to say about the Chargers and Sunday’s game.
1. The Chargers are off to another slow start. What gives?
The Chargers have been absolutely terrible in special teams. They have mad mistakes in every way possible. They have given up 2 kickoff returns for TDs, a punt return for a TD, 2 blocked punts, and a blocked FG.
They get off to slow starts on the road and keep turning the ball over. They lead the league in fumbles and all of the turnovers seem to happen at critical moments in the game. Despite all the errors, the Chargers are ranked number 1 in offense and defense and will find ways to battle through. They have had opportunities at the end to win each game and have just come up short.
2. What do you think the Chargers are focusing on this week in order to beat the Patriots?
Of course the Chargers will be focused on special teams and ball security. We have been weak in these areas and we will need to improve there in order to start winning games.
I think that we also want to establish the run more with rookie RB Ryan Mathews. I think that the Chargers want to control the clock more and be able to buy more time with the play action pass. Mathews has had a good average running the ball, but the Chargers have had to abandon the run game early when they fall behind.
3. What is one favorable match-up or advantage that you feel the Patriots have over the Chargers, and one favorable match-up or advantage that the Chargers have over the Patriots?
The Patriots have an advantage against the Chargers with their tight end Aaron Hernandez. The Chargers have had a history of allowing big games to opposing tight ends. LB Kevin Burnett or Safeties Eric Weddle and Paul Oliver will need to be prepared to cover the athletic Hernandez.
Similarly, the Chargers will have an advantage with their TE Antonio Gates. He is arguably the best TE in the game right now and finds ways to get wide open. He is the key to opening up the passing game for the other receivers. He draws the attention of the safeties and allows the other WRs to get open deep.
5. Game prediction?
This will not be an easy game for the Patriots or the Chargers. The Chargers have their backs up against the wall and are desperate for a win. They have lost the last 2 weeks against mediocre teams and should be out to prove that they are much better than that. I think that the Chargers will be able to move the ball against the Patriots secondary and should be able to put up points. The Chargers will also be working with the home field advantage and I think that they will play their most complete game of the season. Picking the Chargers 30-20.