Chargers-Patriots: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Posted by on December 5th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

I love “big games” and this one on Sunday night is so important.  The Patriots-Chargers matchup isn’t about the Super Bowl, but it sure  puts the winner on a track that might help get them there.
New England is in a life-and-death struggle with the Denver Broncos, for home field advantage in the AFC-playoffs.  Peyton Manning would much rather have a home game in Denver rather than in raging mad-very cold New England.  And Tom Brady would much rather win a critical home playoff game at Gillette Stadium, than have to do it in the hostile elements in the Mile High City.
For the Chargers, this game is equally important.  They hold the top spot in the wildcard race, with four to play, and that means at least one home game.  A win helps solidify that spot, a loss sends Philip Rivers and his friends back into the mix, fighting for a playoff slot with a bunch of teams that will likely have 8-wins by Sunday night.
This matchup is so much more than a key home field slot.
It’s a matchup of madman Bill Belicheck’s defense against the creative juice of Chargers coach Mike McCoy.  Belicheck is (5-1) in games in which he has had to defend Rivers on the field.  McCoy had all those years in Denver and knows the challenge of winning the matchup war with the Patriots defensive personnel.
And the game is indeed the contrasting styles of Brady-vs-Rivers, the two gifted quarterbacks.  Brady has spent his entire career playing for one coach and one philosophy.  Rivers has built success under the guidance of Marty Schottenheimer, then Norv Turner, and now McCoy.  He’s had the unfortunate happenstance of having to watch all the machinations of then GM-AJ Smith, the missed opportunities when key players were let go or run off.  Now he is trying to flourish under current GM-Tom Telesco.
The numbers these two quarterbacks have run up are phenomenal.  The only difference between them is Brady’s appearances in Super Bowls, the only thing lacking on Rivers’ resume.
Teams change year to year, but the one constant has been the guy running the show at quarterback.  Rivers flourishing under the no-huddle package.  His offense built around Antonio Gates, and running backs like Tomlinson-Sproles, to the current Mathews-Brown-Oliver group.  This is an eclectic group of receivers, the big man Malcom Floyd, the big time catches of Keenan Allen, and the little guy Eddie Royal. 
Brady’s best friend is the remarkable tight end Rob Gronkowski.  His wide receiver corps changes yearly, as does the entourage of running backs. Brady has made all those skill guys around him so much better with his accuracy, and his fiery leadership of attention to detail.   And of course, they can run no-huddle, anytime-anyplace.
Rivers has a 102-QB rating this morning, Brady 101.  Rivers with 25TDs to Brady’s 32.    They have both thrown for a shade over 3200 yards this season.  The Bolts convert 47% of their important third down plays, the Patriots 43%.
Oddly, Brady is (5-0) in matchup games against Rivers.  The Chargers quarterback is (1-5) lining up against Belicheck’s defense.  
Brady is an amazing (68-34) in road games.  Rivers at home is an awesome (59-21).  And in December, where playoff bids are won or lost, Brady is (45-7), Rivers is (30-6).
This will be a fun game to watch at the most important time of the year.  
Rivers is so down home country, aw-shucks, till game time.  Brady is all business, all the time, on and off the field.
There has to be a winner, there has to be a loser come Sunday night.  It just does not get any better than this, unless they were playing in a Super Bowl.
I love “big games” for so many reasons, and Brady-vs-Rivers makes this one so rewarding to watch..
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