San Diego at New England,

1 p.m.

81.8

Percentage of

Chargers drives

inside opponents'

20-yard line

that have ended in

touchdowns

(9 of 11).

The Chargers were boosted by their 45-23 dismantling of the Giants last week, a result that helped them avoid an 0-3 start after last season's stunning run to the AFC West title. But today's matchup begins a difficult October, with the other games against the Steelers, at the Raiders, at the Eagles and against the Chiefs. That makes the Chargers, along with this season's Raiders, the only team in NFL history to play road games against both of the previous season's Super Bowl teams.

But perhaps San Diego is catching New England at the right time, if there is such a thing. The Chargers won't have to deal with S Rodney Harrison, a fearsome hitter who would have plenty to prove to the team that cut him in 2003. But Harrison is out for the season with a severe knee injury suffered last week. Also out are LT Matt Light (broken leg) and backup RB Kevin Faulk (foot).

Of course, the Patriots won last week at Pittsburgh even as their players dropped like flies. The Chargers will have to show similar determination to enter November in decent shape.