NEW ENGLAND (9-3) at SAN DIEGO (8-4)
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
OPENING LINE - Patriots by 3
RECORD VS. SPREAD - New England 7-5, San Diego 6-6
SERIES RECORD - Patriots lead 22-15-2
LAST MEETING - Patriots beat Chargers 35-21, Sept. 18, 2011
AP PRO32 RANKING - Patriots No. 2, Chargers No. 11
PATRIOTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (6), RUSH (16), PASS (7).
PATRIOTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (19), RUSH (14), PASS (23).
CHARGERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (16), RUSH (28), PASS (11).
CHARGERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (8), RUSH (15), PASS (7).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Patriots have won two straight and five of eight in series between original AFL teams. ... New England needs win to join San Francisco (1983-98) as only NFL teams to win 10-plus games in 14 straight seasons. ... In last meeting, Tom Brady threw for 423 yards, three TDs - two to Rob Gronkowski - in 14-point Patriots win in second game of 2011 season. ... Patriots poked San Diego in their weekly news release, noting Chargers' ''one and only'' championship was 1963 AFL title game rout of then-Boston Patriots. Under headline ''Not So Super Chargers,'' Patriots point out that ''since cruising past the Patriots for their first championship, San Diego has yet to claim a Super Bowl title, while New England ranks sixth in both playoff and Super Bowl wins since 1964.'' New England is 3-4 in Super Bowls, while San Diego is 0-1. ... Patriots coach Bill Belichick brought team to San Diego after loss at Green Bay to cut down on travel, acclimate to conditions. It rained most of week leading up to game. ... Game will feature two of NFL's best quarterbacks, Brady and Philip Rivers, and tight ends, Gronkowski and Antonio Gates. ... Gronkowski, Gates are matchup headaches for opposing defensive coordinators. ... Gronkowski, Gates each come in with nine TDs, needing one to become first tight end in NFL history to have four seasons with 10 scoring catches. Rivers' 69 TD passes to Gates are most in NFL history from QB to TE. Brady has thrown 50 scoring passes to Gronkowski, most TD connections in team history. ... Rivers is 1-5 vs. Patriots since he became starter in 2006. Only win was in 2008 when Matt Cassel was Patriots QB after Brady tore up knee. ... Rivers is 33-6 in regular-season games in December, January.
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