SI.com's Peter King picks the Patriots in something of a blow out. His reasoning? Largely the Charger's injury list;
''Wrong place, wrong time for the Chargers. It's going to be about 18 degrees at kickoff, 40 degrees colder than what they practice in before they fly east. No Antonio Gates, unless he visits Lourdes on Saturday. Philip Rivers will try to play without practicing all week. LaDainianTomlinson will play, but how healthy and effective will he be? That's not a recipe for success against New England's changeup defenses.''
He picks New England 30, San Diego 13
Vinnie Iyer of the sporting news picks the Patriots and his overall theme, which makes sense to me anyway, is that the Chargers need a stack of elements to go their way, while the Patriots can afford some slippage and still prevail. He also alludes to the head coaching battle;
''In a defense vs. offense chess match in which Bill Belichick and Norv Turner are moving several talented pieces, it's hard not to go with the Pats' head man, especially since Turner may be restrained by his team's injury issues.''
His pick? Patriots 42, Chargers 17
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today goes for New England. He focuses on the mental aspect of the game and says, interestingly;
''However, the Patriots thrive on playing with everything to lose. They are acutely aware of the stakes and have been for most of the season. That vision and focus is intense and set on one thing: a Super Bowl title. ''
His pick: Patriots 35, Chargers 20
Seven out of eight USA Today sports journalists pick the Patriots.
Six out of six (some hadn't picked yet) ESPN experts pick the Patriots.
Five out of five senior ESPN NFL writers pick the Patriots.
Of course, you just never know. That's the beauty of it, isn't it?
Enjoy the game