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Patriots 3 Things to watch for

The Chargers have found ways to lose games this year, thanks in part to their special teams unit.

1 San Diego’s special teams not so special

The Chargers have found ways to lose games this year, thanks in part to their special teams unit.

They’ve had three punts blocked already. When they do get the punt off, they give up an average of 24.4 yards per return — worst in the league. The Patriots are sixth in the league, giving up only 5.3 yards per return. “It’s almost like battle in a way, I guess,” special teamer Dane Fletcher said. “Obviously I’ve never been in battle, but you’ve got to come in with that mindset. They’re out to get your head and so you’ve got to be the same way.”

2 Are the Pats ready to stop the run?

While Philip Rivers has quite the arm and isn’t afraid to use it, the Chargers receivers are banged up at the moment.

WRs Legedu Naanee and Malcolm Floyd, along with TE Antonio Gates are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. If they aren’t good to go, a lot of the load will rest on the shoulders of the backs — Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert.

New England ranks 17thin rush defense, giving up 109.6 yards per game. But they were able to hold Baltimore fantasy superstar Ray Rice to just 88 yards on 28 carries last week.

3 Kick ’em while they’re down

There hasn’t been this much panic in San Diego since Ron Burgundy lost Baxter.

The Chargers are coming off a poor showing in St. Louis and can barely sell enough tickets to get the game on TV. The Patriots can do one of two things in this situation: Pour salt on the wound, or give the Chargers a reason to believe they still have a postseason chance.

The Pats can make a big statement by going into a tough place to win in San Diego and paying them back from their last visit.

 
 
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