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…destroy their perfection, thereby establishing athletic dominion over the continent, AFC-wise, and, at the same time, crush the hopes of little boys and girls living in Eastern Europe.

The Bolts will win for the simple reason that San Diego’s first team will be on the field. The Chargers’ brain trust finally deployed their best against Indianapolis, although not until the crucial fourth quarter. Happily, that turned out to be good enough. Playmaker Legedu Naanee, running backs Darren Sproles and Michael Turner, and especially first-string quarterback Billy Volek, sailed the Chargers into victory harbor. The defending Super Bowl champions are beaten by our varsity team. On to Boston.

The last time the Chargers went to New England, in Week 2, they lost 38-14. But, they were burdened by second-string players: Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and a surprisingly spry, at the time, Antonio Gates. They lost. What else would you expect?

Another reason the Bolts will win is the Big Dig. The mammoth construction project was first talked about in the 1970s; work commenced on underground tunnels and above-ground bridges in 1991. You, reading this, have lived long enough to see the job finished. Be happy. The project was turned over to Massachusetts authorities two and a half weeks ago, although lawsuits will continue for decades. As consequence, the city is unemployed and will be drunk at kickoff time.

The Bolts will win because Peter King, sportswriter and sports-TV gossipmonger, wrote, “New England (17-0). Eight quarters shy of history, I can’t see the Patriots losing. Not to the beat-up Chargers at home, or to the red-hot Giants or Packers.”

The Bolts will win because the Gray Hoodie is too strange to go undefeated. Look at Bill Belichick’s background. He was captain of the lacrosse team at Wesleyan University back in the day. He graduated in 1975.

Which brought him into the orbit of one Kevin Lempa, a shadowy figure in Belichick’s life, who, besides being a San Diego Chargers defensive backs/defensive line coach from 1997 to 1999, was also a wide receiver coach for Wesleyan University in 1976, just one year after Belichick left.

Freaky.

The Chargers will win because Jay Mariotti, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote, “This is the Patriots… They are a sure thing — and you always go with a sure thing. There is just no way the Patriots will lose…the Chargers have no better chance in Gillette Stadium than Rosie O’Donnell has of winning a beauty contest in a thong.”

The Chargers will win because of Gary Callahan, sports columnist for the Boston Globe, wrote, under the head “Why bother showing up?” this about the Chargers/Indy game: “They didn’t win a championship. Not even a conference championship. They won a second-round playoff game and earned the right to travel across three time zones to play the greatest team ever on a day that is expected to be colder than naked ice fishing. If this was a title fight, someone in the Chargers’ corner would be screaming: ‘Stay down! Stay down!’”

When that many sports columnists, writing for different outlets in different cities, all say the same thing, you know to go the other way. Think, buying a house at the top of the market.

The Chargers will win because it’s time for the Patriots to lose. The Pats are no longer crushing every team they play. For bettors, this trend is more pronounced. New England is 15-8 against the spread (ATS) over their last 23 games, which means they’ve won games for themselves and then won the same games for bettors by covering the spread. This is what you would expect from a great team. However, New England is 1-6 ATS in their last seven games. At this point in the season, what counts is how a team is playing over their last two, three, four games.

Yeah, New England spreads have been high and, yeah, spreads are set to how people will bet not on matchups; even so, over the last six games, New England beat the Giants by 3 points, beat Baltimore by 3 points, and beat Philadelphia by 3 points. Another way of looking at those numbers is to consider that the Patriots have been one penalty call from losing any one of those three games.

On the other hand, San Diego is 5-0 ATS over their last five games. They’re hot. And, here’s a secret that apparently no one knows: the Chargers just beat the defending world champions, on their field, with backup players. Do you think that might mean something?

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