Sunday, January 20, 2008

The New England Patriots Will Represent The AFC In The Super Bowl

Touchdowns will always beat field goals. It's simple math. So while the perfect Patriots haven't looked it at times Sunday, the scoreboard is put a squeeze on San Diego.

The Patriots converted red-zone chances for TDs. The banged-up Chargers didn't. As a result, unbeaten New England is headed to Arizona for Super Bowl XLII.

Despite a shaky Tom Brady, the New England Patriots were still too much for the banged-up San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game Sunday, pulling out a 21-12 victory that sent them back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven seasons.

Brady made several stunningly poor throws (he threw 3 interceptions! one game) that fluttered in the wind, Randy Moss was a non-factor for the second straight game and the highest-scoring team in NFL history sputtered all afternoon. Instead, the Patriots (18-0) relied on Laurence Maroney's spins, cuts and helmet-rattling runs.

With injured Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson reduced to mostly watching in a parka, the Patriots moved on to a Feb. 3 matchup in Glendale, Ariz., against the winner of the NFC title game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

Yet for all the Patriots have accomplished -- they're the only team in NFL history to start out with 18 straight victories -- they're well aware they must win that final game to avoid being relegated to a footnote.

Perfection comes down to one game now.

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