Look for LaDainian Tomlinson to get upwards of 30 carries and pile up 100-plus yards. He should find plenty of holes running to his left, behind tackle Marcus McNeil and guard Kris Dielman, and with the added help of his sledge-hammer escort, fullback Lorenzo Neal.
Upwards of 30 carries? Really? In his career, do you know how many times Tomlinson has had upwards of 30 carries? Once in 2006 at Oakland. Once in 2005 at Oakland. Once in 2004 . At OAKLAND. Once in 2003 . Home against OAKLAND. In the last 4 years, then, Tomlinson has carried the ball upwards of 30 times exactly 0 times against teams not from Oakland.
Rivers will have an easier time in this game because, in addition to the help Tomlinson's running will provide, he will benefit from facing a zone-coverage scheme that is ripe for him to exploit. And the key to that exploitation will be tight end Antonio Gates. At 6-foot-4, Gates towers over Packers middle linebacker Nick Barnett. Barnett is quick, but the exceptionally talented Gates should be able to run by him, as well as Green Bay's safeties, and provide a consistently open target for Rivers. When the Packers blitz, which will be often, Gates is going to be an ideal "hot read" for his quarterback.
Actually, the Packers play mostly man coverage, not zone. An easy mistake to make, if one doesn't feel the need to rely on facts when conducting analysis. Likewise, the Packers might blitz often, but that certainly hasn't been the case so far this year. The Packers certainly did not blitz as much as the two teams they've faced so far this year -- the Giants and Eagles.
Ultimately, Carucci picks the Charges to win comfortably. He's probably right. San Diego is by far the more talented team. But it offends me as a reader of news -- even sports news -- to find professional writers so ignorant of the subjects about which they write. Could Tomlinson get 30 carriers tomorrow? Sure. Could the Packers play pure zone all day? Sure. Could the Packers blitz every down (uhh, not really, not if they are playing zone all day -- most teams run man coverage behind a blitz)? Let's just say yes. But all these predictions are contrary to all trends to date.
Carucci bases his prediction in 3 things that are not likely to happen. When you predicate your prediction on the confluence of unlikely events, you should explain why those events are likely to happen.