AFC Championship Preview: Chargers vs Patriots
LaDainian Tomlinson by Aggie Skirball/ WireImage.com
Thus far this season, no one has been able to figure out how to stop the New England Patriots juggernaut - and now that the dream of a perfect 19-win campaign is only two games away, it seems everyone is eager to see history made. Everyone, that is, except for the San Diego Chargers, who have ridden a late-season wave of eight straight wins en route to this Sunday's
AFC Championship game
But the Chargers have also hit a number of speed bumps - in last week's divisional game against the Indianapolis Colts, both quarterback
and running back
suffered knee injuries that kept them out of the game during the crucial final minutes. (It's unclear whether either will be unable to play this Sunday.) Tight end
is also questionable, having suffered a dislocated left big toe in the wild-card game against Tennessee two weeks back. (Gates did play against the Colts last week but was not up to his usual production.)
says that Chargers coach "Norv Turner has shown his offense is very diverse; if he has to play without Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, I believe he'll find different ways to get it done.... I thought we saw a lot of very positive things in Indianapolis that should carry over for that offense against New England."
Meanwhile everything's going right for the Patriots, who have set numerous records this season - highest number of touchdowns thrown, by quarterback
(50); highest number of touchdowns caught, by wide receiver Randy Moss (23) - the most impressive of which, of course, is that that big ol' zero in the loss category. Well,
everything's going right: This week a scandal broke around seemingly self-reinvented wide receiver
, who's been accused of injuring a Florida woman in her home earlier this month. Regardless, Moss will be playing this week, as will the Patriots' veritable arsenal of other offensive and defensive weapons.
As for whether the Chargers can get the better of what some have called the best team in NFL history, Simms says, "These NFL coaches spend their lives thinking about it - they haven't come up with the answers; we'll see what the Chargers come up with this week."
- Nina Hämmerling Smith
airs Sunday, Jan. 20, 3 pm/ET on CBS.
NFC Championship Preview: Giants vs Packers