2011 Chargers' Opponent Spotlight: New England Patriots

"If they think we're good this year, just wait until they come to Foxboro next year...." (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Doesn't it seem like the Chargers play the Colts and Patriots every year? They don't, but they play enough that Charger fans know the ins-and-outs of both rosters, coaching staffs, etc. It's as much of a rivalry as the Chargers have outside of their own division. This last season the Patriots started slow, traded Randy Moss away, traded for Deion Branch, and then turned back into the pre-Randy Moss Patriots that seemingly never lost even though their team wasn't particularly great at anything except avoiding mistakes. The Chargers can probably expect to see a similar team when they travel to Foxboro in 2011.

2010 Record: 14-2, 1st in AFC East
Playoff Outcome: Lost in Divisional Playoff game to the New York Jets

Key Free Agents

Matt Light, LT
Logan Mankins, LG (Franchised)
Stephen Gostkowski, K
Kevin Faulk, RB

Key IR Returns

Stephen Gostkowski, K
Kevin Faulk, RB
Ron Brace, DT
Ty Warren, DE
Leigh Bodden, CB

 

Wow. Ahem. I.....don't quite know how to say this, but Bill Belichick might be both the best Head Coach and the best General Manager over the last decade in the NFL. Maybe ever. It's almost predictable at this point that a year after finishing with the best record in the NFL the Patriots would be in a position to easily bring back every player on the roster (which is surprisingly young all around), while also gaining some key pieces that missed parts of the 2010 season.

Oh, and did I mention that the Patriots again have two first-round draft picks this year? It's true, they pick 17th (right ahead of the Chargers) and also 28th. This team is going to be loaded next year.

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