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Finally a Cupcake!


Photo art by Kent Mitchell

Though the housing prices have plummeted on Staley Island, the Housing Commission has not yet condemned the property and the view from my front porch reveals six more opportunities of appraisal before I will be forced to recognize the negative equity.


Yes, coach Brandon Staley would tell you that the Chargers are still vying for a playoff spot because the field is wide open but the fact is his team is running out of opportunities to climb back into the Wild Card race. Last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens was their third in a row—the first three game losing streak of Staley's head coaching career.


Time is running out on this iteration of the All-In Chargers. Just like time ran out on the producers of that Chargers YouTube series. The roster that Tom Telesco built; that Staley led into battle, has been so universally underwhelming that you could understand why letting the fans peek behind the scenes of their spiraling season might be better left on the cutting room floor.


The team is missing out on a tremendous rebranding opportunity by just adding a word to the title of the show. ALL IN VAIN.


Perhaps the social media team takes no pleasure in roasting their own club—or is forbidden from it by their contract—but no such obligation exists for the fans. For them it has been a season-long roast that began in September when the Miami Dolphins ran past the Chargers' defenders for 36 points and 536 total yards. For many fans Staley's failure to construct even a middling defense over his two-and-a-half seasons is the most damning piece of evidence against him.


The statistics are not any kinder than the fans on Reddit. This season, the Chargers are No. 31 in total yards allowed (393.2 per game), last in first downs allowed (22.8), No. 31 in passing yards allowed (291 per game) and No. 24 in points allowed (24 per game).


But the players remain steadfast in their support for him and Staley himself insists that he has complete confidence in his staff and his scheme. They just have to stay connected. . .and keep putting together good practices. . . and continue to compete. . . and just do a better job of executing. . .


Not that any of that coach speak is rote, but perhaps what the team really needs is a cupcake. A date on the schedule with a bottom-dweller team who can't get out of their own way. An easy win against an overmatched opponent. But are the dynastic New England Patriots, the most successful franchise in the NFL, winners of six Super Bowls in this century.


LaDainian Tomlinson had a huge day against the Patriots on September 29, 2002 in a 21-14 victory. LT carried the ball 27 times for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Chargers and the Patriots are original AFL opponents. The Pats lead the all-time series 27-15-2 and have won seven in a row against the Chargers.
“I don’t view it as the complexity of the system. I view it as 11 guys on defense who know exactly what to do and who are extremely well coached and do the right thing from the technical and fundamental standpoint as well as anyone in football.” -Marty Schottenheimer. Jan 10, 2007.

Chargers fans, stop me if you have heard this before: The Pats are vulnerable.


Patriots coach, general manager, military history buff and general curmudgeon Bill Belichick is also playing out the stretch with a 2-9 squad doing some type of Bataan Death March. Will owner Robert Kraft fire one of the greatest coaches in NFL history? Will the team attempt to trade Belichick for draft picks? Does Belichick's ego really need to pass Don Shula's mark for most professional wins (347) and how many years might that take at his current shameful rate?


It ends with a whimper, and not with a bang.

That said the Chargers are favored on Sunday in New England where the team has not won a game since 2005. You remember the time the Chargers went to Foxborough and ended the Patriots' 21-game home winning streak by crushing them 41-17?


That was the game in which Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, when asked after the game about the one-sided outcome, gave praise to how impressive the Pats streak was.


"What they've done is remarkable," Schottenheimer said. "But at what point in time do you keep responding when you have to keep putting in new players? They've done it wonderfully over the last four years, but there comes a time where it has to catch up with you, even with a team as great as this one."


Essentially Schottenheimer was saying that the margin of victory was more evident of how many starters the Patriots had lost to injury than in how dominant his own team was. These comments made their way back to Tom Brady, who bristled.


"You don't talk about our team. He has no business talking about our team," Brady told the Boston Herald . "He's not our coach. We'll let our coach talk about our team. We'll let our players talk about our team."


Schottenheimer was deflecting praise by making excuses for Belichick and yet somehow this was twisted into casting shade. By the way Brady reacted you would have thought that Schottenheimer said that the Patriots were ass, or something.


Typically a player would be ridiculed for being so thin-skinned but the Patriots' way of manipulating perceived slights into an "everyone is against us" mindset fueled a faux underdog narrative for decades. Inside that pampered fanbase is a toxic victim's mentality that would rather blame systematic abuse of power than accept any accountability in whatever cheating scandal their coach presided over.

 

There is no better evidence of how the page has turned than the apology issued this week by a current Patriots player who spoke far less tastefully of the "Patriot Way" than Marty did.


Following New England's loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium last Sunday, safety Jabrill Peppers met with Giants running back Saquon Barkley on the field. Barkley was wearing a microphone during the game which caught Peppers telling him , "You lucky we ass."


Peppers apologized for his candid admission while maintaining that his comments were never meant for public ears. Just like the Chargers revealed in the last episode of "All-In" from earlier this season, on Monday's the team "tells the truth" in assessing performances both good and bad when reviewing the video of the previous game. The Chargers call it Tell the Truth Monday.


Peppers was just doing it on a Sunday.


My point being, if the Peppers is correct and the Patriots are ass, then what possible truth will the Chargers be telling themselves on Monday should they lose this game?


 

Patriots vs. Chargers Predictions



Season ticket holders were spared the indignity of losing to the Patriots and quarterback Cam Newton in 2020 by the pandemic. The Chargers special teams were decidedly not that afternoon in a 45-0 loss.

SEO: NFL Predictions LA Chargers Bears


Bolt Bros Podcast

Kyle Sawyer (Season Record 6-5)

The "Broracle" reads the runes!


WUNJO. We have had some rough times with three straight loses, but we can find comfort in the memories we have with each other. Yet, we all can agree the Chargers have a crisis of their identity.

BERKANA. Are we a good team or a bad one? We have to think about that in relation to this season. I say we are good and this week against the Patriots will tip the scales, but we are currently stagnant.

INGWAZ. Our progression towards any hope is critical for this week. I am hopefull for the game against the patriots but we might as well be in the playoffs right now as every game is now critical. Other wise we are going to start talking about the growth of the team from here on out. 28 - 24 Chargers win.


Chargers 28 - Patriots 24

 

Tom Brady left the Patriots in 2020 but the Chargers have lost two more home games against Bill Belichick since.

Rivers Lake Yacht Club

Señor Snappy (Season Record 4-4)

Forget about last week, except that the defense finally showed up. The offensive line was not up to the matchup with the best defense in the league.


This week looks the same (stout defense which could stifle the one-dimensional Bolts offense) and I do sincerely fear the potential for a J.C. Jackson revenge game.

Patriots 13 - Chargers 12

 

K​ea-Lava

K​ea Humilde (Season Record 5-6)

This week’s matchup has the Chargers set to play compass for the Patriots, who seem more directionally challenged than ever without Tom Brady at the helm. As new starter Bailey Zappe attempts to weather the storm, Khalil Mack and Tuli Tuipulotu will ensure he feels like he’s searching for a signal amongst the waves as he tries to decode their defense.

The Patriots, missing Brady’s so-called “magic touch,” might find themselves longing for a GPS to navigate Justin Herbert’s relentless attacks. It’ll be a game where our Bolts demonstrate that not even a compass can guide the Patriots to victory. They wanna say, “Land Ho!” but might face shipwreck instead.

Chargers 31 - Patriots 21


 

Señor Salty

Mark White (Season Record 8-3)

Who is the last Chargers coach to beat Bill Belichick? That would be Norv Turner in 2008; the season that Tom Brady tore his ACL in the opening game and the Pats still went 11-5.


Who was the last Chargers coach to beat Belichick and Brady? That would be Marty Schottenheimer who beat the Pats so soundly that they benched Brady in the fourth quarter. That was 18 years ago!


Since then in head-to-head matchups with the Sith Lord Chargers coaches Norv Turner went 1-4, Mike McCoy went 0-1, and Anthony Lynn went 0-3. Staley lost his first meeting with the Patriots 27-24 at Sofi in 2021. He gets one more opportunity to try to break the hex Sunday at Foxborough. As Master Yoda would say: Do. Or do not. There is no "try."

Patriots 16 - Chargers 14

 

The Greek Uncles in Chicago

A​bram Sexson and Panos Mamalis (Season Record 4-7)

The Patriots have been playing some horrible football this season. The offense stinks, the defense is playing hurt and Belichick has been slipping. His drafts have been poor for several years. Putting a defensive coordinator in charge of the offense last year was an abject failure. Mac Jones went from a decent starting quarterback his rookie season, to an unconfident, benched, lost soul.


The Chargers game this week seems like one of the easiest wins of the year. A cupcake, if you will. Belichick is angling for draft position or perhaps for Staley's job. Theia Anthi used to say: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks unless you're the one with his favorite treat" and the Chargers are holding Bill's favorite treat: a good QB. Chargers 23 - Patriots 17

 

Thunder Down Under Podcast

Andy Prophet (Season Record 1-1)

The struggling LA defense has feasted on underwhelming offenses in the few games they’ve won this year. Looking at the Jones/Zappe/Cunningham trifecta, this match-up should be no exception.


Improve on last week, maintain ball security on offense and allow Herbert to overcome his past of Belichickian nightmares. I hope this one quashes the circulating rumors and wants for head coach Bill from fans. Chargers end the losing streak.

Chargers 21 - Patriots 13

 

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