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Article:Pats All Folks: AFC Championship Preview

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This is it, The Pursuit of Perfection, the Pursuit of a repeat. Brady-Manning the sequel. The Patriots and Colts will battle it out once again for the AFC crown and a ticket to Glendale. Actually its not the game we all hoped for its the Patriots versus the Chargers
Charg
see...its these guys. But make no mistakes this will not be a walk in the park, more of a steady jog. Phillip Rivers(pictured) might not play due to lack of testicular fortitude and a knee injury, Ladainian Tomlinson will play so things may not be as easy as they seem. Antonio Gates, who hobbled all over the RCA dome will likely play. On the Patriots side, just about everybody and their pet goat is on the injury report but they will all play.

The Patriots, who are 5-1 all-time in AFC title games, is trying to become the first team to reach the Super Bowl four times in the same decade since Buffalo made four consecutive trips to the game's ultimate stage from 1990 through 1993 as you may know the lone AFC Title game loss was a 38-34 loss at Indianapolis in last year's AFC Championship. The Chargers are undefeated in AFC Title games, seeing as they only been in one in 1994, where they were mopped by the San Francisco 49ers.

The game will be at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots beat the Chargers 38-14, but also it is the same place where the Chargers delivered Belichick's worst ever home loss where they beat them 41-17 in 2005. But enough of that its time for the nitty gritty preview.

What's funny about this game is that the keys for either side is doing exactly what they have been criticized for not doing the entire season. For the Bolts, they have been long criticized for having no receiving option outside their tailback and tight end. Yet Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson have been #1 and #2 in receiving yards in the playoffs. They will need (insert QB name here) to not be afraid to go deep to Jackson or Chambers as long as they aren't being defended by Asante Samuel. The Patriots will need to expose a suspect Chargers D-Line and give them a healthy dose of Laurence Maroney, something they barely did the first time around. The Bolts will be all over Moss like a injury settlement lawyer(couldn't resist) and beware of Cromartie, he is as dirty as he is talented.

Defensively, like the Jaguars did last week the Bolts defense has a choice, they could defend the deep and let the Pats play short passes and run a lot or the can try to rush and get to Brady. Considering the arsenal of receivers and what happened in week 2, I think they will try to blitz frequently and often. On the Patriots side, they must contain LT, keep in mind this isnt the RCA dome, I doubt Chambers and Jackson will be as great as they have the first couple games. Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison respectively must make plays at the line of scrimmage and the secondary worthy of ruining their chances of having their jerseys retired at Qualcomm.

Special teams wise, for the Patriots it's simple be wary of Darren Sproles, Nate Kaeding is a choke artist. Also stop letting Chad Jackson return kicks, I know the Patriots just want to make him feel important especially if they need him next season but he barely makes it to the 20. For the Chargers, can't settle for 3 points or with Kaeding, you can't settle for turnover on downs.

Patriots 31 Chargers 13....followed by a LT meltdown


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