Welcome back to the only NFL picks here on Associated Content that picked a team that wasn’t even playing during the Divisional Playoffs. This is Zac’s Backs: AFC Championship Game Edition.
So here’s the deal about what will forever be known as the “Tennessee Typo.” I wrote my picks as I was packing my suitcase for my trip back to PA last week. Needless to say, I didn’t read my article before posting it on Associated Content. Big mistake. Let that be a lesson to all of you. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, simply click on last week’s Zac’s Backs and read my prediction for the San Diego-Indy game.
Not that it mattered in the long run. My pick was the Colts and I, like many of you, was surprised by their defeat at the hands of the San Diego (once again Super) Chargers. What isn’t so surprising is that the Patriots are once again playing in the AFC Championship Game. Let’s take a look at this match-up before any prediction is made by yours truly.
These two teams met back in September in a game that wasn’t close at all. New England took a 24-0 lead into halftime en route to a 38-14 week two victory in Foxborough. Tom Brady was, well, Brady-esque, completing 25 of 31 for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, L.T. was not himself, rushing for only 43 yards on 18 rushes.
These two football teams on have been very different paths during this NFL season. The Patriots, of course, have been on the road to perfection since week one. Despite the fact that the Pats haven’t defeated an opponent by 20 points in quite awhile, New England is still by far the best team in the NFL. The Chargers, on the other hand, started their season 1-3 and had many of us scratching our heads throughout 2007. The real San Diego Chargers decided to show up at the end of November as the team finished the regular season winning six straight games. Add in two playoff wins against Tennessee and at Indianapolis and the Chargers could be called the second hottest team in the NFL at this point.
Heading into the AFC Championship Game the Chargers are banged up. As of Monday evening, Tomlinson and quarterback Philip Rivers are listed as “questionable” as both are suffering from injuries. I would be very shocked if both of these guys didn’t start on Sunday. Neither man will probably be 100 percent, though, which could spell disaster when playing against an undefeated football team in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Patriots are a well-oiled machine right now. Tom Brady is coming off one of the most impressive games any quarterback has had in the history of the NFL, Laurence Maroney is playing his best football of the season and the New England offensive line appears to be impenetrable. I also find it funny that people are quick to point out that the New England defense is weak compared to other years. This is a defense that has given up an average of 17 points in the last five football games. With the offense the Pats have, giving up 17 points a game will get the job done every time. It seems to have been good enough so far.
As I’m sure anybody who’s watched a New England game this season knows, an opponent is going to have to play a nearly flawless game in order to defeat the Pats. That just cannot be expected of a team with a banged up starting quarterback and running back. It doesn’t help San Diego that they’re heading to New England for the AFC Championship Game.
I’ll be brutally honest. I don’t think this game is even going to be close. Do you really expect the Patriots to be asleep on Sunday because they’re “bummed” that they’re not getting the opportunity to face the Colts and avenge their lost in last year’s AFC Championship? I do think the Patriots are beatable but not at home and not against this San Diego team. The Chargers played their best football game against the Colts and don’t have enough to beat the Pats.
Winner: New England