New England Patriots: San Diego Chargers

Woodhead: Great to have the bolt on

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
9:00
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Former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead was formally introduced as a San Diego Charger on Wednesday afternoon after signing a two-year contract (terms undisclosed).

Following three years with the Patriots, it was different seeing Woodhead in a blue Chargers shirt.

"It's great to have the bolt on," he said, referencing the team's logo.

Woodhead looked back to his time with the Patriots once in his remarks, touching on being part of a tight-knit running back corps.

"From the sounds of it, it's a great room and a tight knit group [in San Diego], and that's what I'm used to; in the past years, close-knit guys," he said.

To watch the video from the Chargers' website, CLICK HERE.

Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt sees Woodhead "adding another element" to the team's attack.

View from San Diego: Chargers talk Pats

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
5:55
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AP Photo/Denis PoroyQB Philip Rivers leads the Chargers to New England on Sunday.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and head coach Norv Turner held conference calls with the New England media Wednesday. Here's a handful of noteworthy soundbites on the Patriots:

1. Praise for young tight ends: Asked what stands out about the Patriots in Monday night's win over the Dolphins, Turner made specific reference to New England's second-year tight ends: "The explosiveness of their football team, obviously... you can see where guys really have taken a step up as players. [Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez were awfully impressive. What they’re doing with that personnel group is awfully impressive and obviously they’ve always been a great passing team, but to add the number of explosive plays really jumped out at you."

2. Expecting the unexpected: Rivers said it's hard to take too much from Monday's game because he knows it's likely the Patriots will modify their defensive game plan against San Diego. "I think any time you play this defense, you’ve got to always be ready for the unexpected," said Rivers. "One thing you know going in is that they’re going to play disciplined football. Obviously, we’ve played them a handful of times, as recent as last year, and they make us earn everything."

3. Rivers on Welker: Rivers and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker were teammates -- ever so briefly -- in San Diego during the 2004 season (undrafted Welker made San Diego's roster out of training camp, but lasted only one game). "I like Wes a lot and, obviously, I played against Wes when he was at Texas Tech, I think he ran a punt back against us," said Rivers. "He played there just like he does now. He made all the great plays and was just the every down receiver that he is. He ran a punt back that preseason or a kickoff and we hoped he was going to be here for a long time. It didn’t happen. We kind of talked about that at the Pro Bowl as well. Wes has had a great career and continues to have a great career."

4. Turning up the pressure: It's no secret that -- in recent seasons -- one of the ways to disrupt the Patriots offense was to put pressure on quarterback Tom Brady. Turner knows that will be key Sunday. "The teams that have played the best defense against New England -- I look at Detroit in the preseason and I look at the Jets and Baltimore from the last couple of years -- they’ve been able to pressure the quarterback and disrupt Tom [Brady] and that’s what obviously people try to do to our quarterback. When you have a quarterback who plays at the level that Tom Brady is, [if] you can’t pressure him and disrupt him a little bit, you’re going to be in for a long day."

5. Rivers on Belichick: After Belichick talked in the morning about working with Rivers at the Pro Bowl, Rivers offered his take on New England's head coach. "Any time you’re around coach Belichick and that group, and obviously all they’ve done in his career and all they’ve done there in New England, it’s fun to be around and learn from and get to know a little bit," said Rivers. "I know I really enjoyed the week and enjoyed, to a certain extent, getting an idea of how [the Patriots] operate. Obviously, I know it wasn’t anything close to the level, but you still get somewhat of an idea."

Doing the math on Fourth and 1

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
8:56
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It was another case of a questionable fourth-down call for Bill Belichick and the Patriots on Sunday in San Diego. Just as in Indianapolis last season, the Patriots went for it on fourth and short in their own territory with a slim lead late in the fourth quarter, and just as in Indy, they fell short. However, this time New England did not pay the ultimate price, winning the game when a potential game-tying field goal hit the upright.

So was going for it on fourth and 1 the right call?

ESPN.com's Stats and Info blog did the math on it, determining that -- by a slim margin -- it was not the right call. Using a win probability calculator, the analysis concluded that the Patriots had a 87 percent chance of winning the game if they punted in that situation Sunday and an 82 percent chance of winning if they went for it.

When they failed to convert the fourth down, the Patriots' win probability dropped all the way to 64 percent.

What do you think of analyses like these that are purely stats-based? Useful in making a case and explaining decisions?

Video: Patriots-Chargers Field Pass

October, 22, 2010
10/22/10
12:13
PM ET


ESPN analysts break down three aspects of Patriots-Chargers in this week’s Field Pass:

* Fantasy difference-maker: San Diego receiver Patrick Crayton. With the Chargers banged up and Philp Rivers pass-happy, Crayton deserves a start on your fantasy team.

* Matchup to watch: The Patriots’ effectiveness on third down. Danny Woodhead is the new go-to guy for New England in this department. Expect the Pats to go to him again in third-down situations Sunday.

* Prediction: Marcellus Wiley picks New England to win, 24-17.

ESPN Patriots-Chargers prediction roundup

October, 22, 2010
10/22/10
10:32
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A roundup of how ESPN’s analysts see Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers game playing out:

* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: Patriots 27, Chargers 21. Spending time in the Patriots' locker room, one gets the sense that confidence is rising and players are starting to believe. The Patriots are the more complete team -- with special teams a key consideration and an offensive attack that is the best the Chargers have seen to this point. After two big wins, the Patriots will find a way to keep it going.

* ESPNBoston.com’s Tedy Bruschi: Patriots 30, Chargers 27. Let me state this clearly, this is a trap game. What coach Bill Parcells used to do for some of these games is hang mouse traps in the locker room to remind players to stay focused. The Patriots are coming off a huge win over the Baltimore Ravens. Everyone is excited that this team has finally arrived. The Patriots themselves are feeling very confident, as they should. Now, you're going up a against a struggling 2-4 team that has injuries to key players. Will the Pats let their guard down? I think not. This is a week where coaches earn their money not so much for game plans, but for keeping their teams humble and focused. Belichick is the best in the business at doing that. Pats win, but get pushed to the limit.

* Bill Simmons: Patriots (+3) over CHARGERS. Couldn't San Diego just trade Norv Turner to Dallas for Wade Phillips and three vacant stares to be named later?

* ESPN experts: Of the eight experts, five pick the Patriots over the Chargers. Ron Jaworski, Adam Schefter and Seth Wickersham pick San Diego.

* Sunday Countdown: Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson all pick the Patriots.

* AccuScore simulations: Chargers 24.4, Patriots 22 (on average). You can simulate the game yourself here (Insider).

* Madden simulation: Patriots 30, Chargers 27. Fantasy owners should be looking at Chargers receiver Patrick Crayton to have a huge game against the New England secondary, as he catches 7 passes for 115 yards and a score in the "Madden" simulation. But while San Diego counts their stats, New England continues to count wins, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to pick up the 30-27 victory.

* Ken Moll, Scouts, Inc.: Chargers 24, Patriots 23. (Insider)

* Countdown Daily: Mark Schlereth and Mike Golic both pick the Patriots.

* Field Pass: Marcellus Wiley picks the Patriots

* Make your Week 7 picks with our Pigskin Pick’Em contest.

* What's your prediction for Patriots-Chargers? Leave it in the comments section of this blog post.

AccuScore projections for Pats-Chargers

October, 21, 2010
10/21/10
11:30
AM ET


In the video above, Jenny Dell goes inside the numbers for Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers game in the Countdown Daily AccuScore report. Here are some of the highlights from the game simulations:

* The Chargers have been heavy favorites in all of their losses, and according to AccuScore, are 56 percent favorites against the Patriots on Sunday.

* Philip Rivers, who leads the NFL with 2,008 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, is projected for 260 yards passing and a 2-touchdown to 1-interception ratio against the young New England secondary.

* If Rivers have more than 300 yards passing in the game, however, the Chargers drop from 56 percent favorites to 50 percent, because a huge passing day often means San Diego is playing from behind.

* If the Chargers have 2 or more turnovers in the game, the tables flip and the Patriots are 54 percent favorites.

* In 10,000 simulations of the game, the Chargers won 52 percent of the time.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss explains why special teams could play a key role in Sunday's game for the Patriots against the Chargers, who have given up three return touchdowns in the kicking game this season and had two punts blocked:

Bruschi's keys for Patriots vs. Chargers

October, 20, 2010
10/20/10
12:27
AM ET


Looking ahead to Sunday's matchup in Southern California, Tedy Bruschi gives his keys for the Patriots to beat the Chargers this weekend (video above):

* Get pressure on Philip Rivers: Last week the Rams sacked Philip Rivers 7 times.

* Get the running game going: The Chargers' run defense has shown a lot of vulnerability.

* Spread the ball around offensively: If the Patriots establish the run, watch for Tom Brady to pick apart the defense by hitting targets all over the field.

Bruschi also sees this game as an opportunity for the Patriots to establish confidence on the road. If they win Sunday, it'll be two straight road victories. Last season, they had just one true road win all season (not counting the neutral site game in England).
Not to look ahead too much, but we already know both the opponent and the game time for the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs should they beat the Ravens on Sunday in Foxborough.

Because the Patriots are the No. 3 seed in the AFC, there would be no way they could face the No. 1-seeded Colts in the divisional round, which means the Chargers would be the opponent.

The NFL announced Monday that San Diego would host that divisional game on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 4:30 p.m. ET in a game broadcast on CBS.

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