New England Patriots
OT Wesley Britt, WR Troy Brown, WR Chad Jackson, S Mel Mitchell, DL Le Kevin Smith, DB Antwain Spann, OG Billy Yates, QB Matt Gutierrez (third QB)
San Diego Chargers
TE Scott Chandler , WR Malcolm Floyd, CB Cletis Gordon, DT Brandon McKinney, CB Paul Oliver, K David Rayner , LB Anthony Water, QB Charlie Whitehurst (third QB)
Troy Brown will not see action today as the team opts to go with Kelley Washington as the extra receiver for his special teams play.
Chad Jackson is a surprise scratch, and a disappointing one. In his second season, it's games like this Jackson could have an impact in the return game.
S Mel Mitchell and DB Antwain Spann are inactive which depletes the secondary, but but is an indication that New England has enough healthy bodies to match up with the Chargers receivers.
The remaining Patriots are regular backups and have been on the inactive list much of the season.
With news that the inactive list does not contain Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson or Antonio Gates, the Chargers are going to try to gut it out on offense. If their injuries permit, the big three are key for San Diego's offense to have a chance to keep up with the Patriots offensive scoring machine. If one - or more - of them have to leave the game early, the Chargers could have trouble.
River's backup is Billy Volek - a former Titan - will probably be in the game if New England gets a lot of pressure up the middle testing Rivers' injured knee. Rivers has a strained MCL, and a partially torn ACL. If he can't move, San Diego would be better off with Volek under center.
Tomlinson's return boosts the Chargers vaunted rushing attack. The last time these two teams met with a healthy Tomlinson, New England held him to just 46 yards on the ground. San Diego has Michael Turner available to carry the ball if LT cannot go. Turner helped the Chargers running game against the Colts last week when Tomlinson was on the sideline. Turner carried 17 times for 71 yards last week. His 4.5 yards per carry regular season average is proof enough that the Chargers can still run the ball without LT.
Gates played last week with his tow injury. He caught just two passes, but the Chargers were able to rely on their receivers more in the passing game. Prior to this season, Gates was San Diego's main threat in the passing game. Now San Diego has Chris Chambers to boost the receiving corps.
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