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Tomlinson will have reason to complain

Pickskin Pick 'Em

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2007

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has already proven he's one of the most versatile, athletic and shifty runners the game has ever seen.

Unfortunately, he's quickly becoming equally adept at whining, too.

Sure, the New England Patriots have been tried, convicted and sentenced in the high court of Commissioner Roger Goodell for videotaping the New York Jets' defensive signals and relaying them into their offense last week.

And coach Bill Belichick's acknowledgment of the situation is just embarrassing for the franchise.

But while many players around the league have expressed their dismay toward the situation, Tomlinson cut right to the chase, as he does so often on the field.

For him to openly say Monday he isn't "surprised" by the Pats' actions is just adding fuel to the fire that is swiftly developing into one of the most heated rivalries in the sport.

As if this blaze needed it.

When the Chargers take the field in Foxborough on Sunday night, you can be sure he will hear his fair share of disgruntled New Englanders' opinions of him.

But it won't be for his latest obtuse statement.

Following a deserved onfield celebration by the three-time Super Bowl champs after their come-from-behind, miracle-filled, 24-21 upset at San Diego in last January's playoffs derailed the Chargers' league-best 14-2 regular-season run, Tomlinson lost his cool and had to be restrained by current and former teammates.

"I would never react in that way. I was very upset," Tomlinson said, possibly close to tears, following the loss. "When you go to the middle of our field and start doing the dance Shawne Merriman is known for, that is disrespectful. They showed no class and maybe that comes from the head coach."

That coming from a guy who set the new standard for running backs, racking up a league-best 1,815 yards and an NFL-record 31 touchdowns last season.

Here's a news flash for you, L.T.

Even though millions of children admire you, sporting your jersey and hanging your likeness along their walls, there's no need to join them on the playground.

It's all moot, though.

Tomlinson and Co. can use all the cameras they want and their defense still won't be able to stop what will soon become one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history.

It's almost unfair to have Tom Brady and Randy Moss lining up in the same uniform.

After Moss lacerated the Jets' defense for 183 yards and a touchdown, the most yardage Brady has ever accumulated with a single receiver in one game, the Chargers 3 1/2 point underdogs will, no doubt, be forced to double-cover the future Hall of Famer.

And when they do, Brady will simply find wideout Wes Welker (six catches, 61 yards, TD against New York), or WR Donte' Stallworth, or TE Ben Watson, or Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris out of the backfield, or maybe even Jabar Gaffney, who vaporized the Chargers for 10 receptions, 103 yards and a crucial TD in last year's wild playoff victory.

Whatever happens, though, you can bet the house Tomlinson will find something else to complain about.

PATRIOTS, 28-17.

Atlanta (plus 10 1/2) at Jacksonville

Maurice Jones-Drew attacks a vulnerable Falcons' defense. Atlanta should acquire former Jaguars' QB Byron Leftwich. JAGUARS, 41-17.

Buffalo (plus 10) at Pittsburgh

Bills manage the clock better than they did in last-second loss to Denver. They're also playing for injured teammate Kevin Everett. BILLS, 17-14.

Cincinnati (minus 6 1/2) at Cleveland

Chad Johnson will have a few chances at topping his overhyped and uncharacteristically weak touchdown celebration from Week 1. BENGALS, 35-10.

Green Bay (even) at New York Giants

Mammoth 285-pound QB Jared Lorenzen should be playing on the defensive line, then maybe Tony Romo doesn't pass for four TDs and run for another last week. PACKERS, 24-17.

Houston (plus 6 1/2) at Carolina

David Carr is on the opposite sideline now. Matt Schaub shows him how it's done. HOUSTON, 20-13.

Indianapolis (minus 7) at Tennessee

Indy's defense, well, looks like the Indy D of old. TITANS, 30-27.

New Orleans (minus 3 1/2) at Tampa Bay

Buccaneers' defense is no Indianapolis from last week. SAINTS, 38-14.

San Francisco (plus 3) at St. Louis

Steven Jackson easily surpasses his 61 total yards from opening game. RAMS, 28-24.

Dallas (minus 3 1/2) at Miami

Terrell Owens doesn't duplicate his first game. DOLPHINS, 20-17.

Minnesota (plus 3) at Detroit

Jon Kitna is for real. So is Calvin Johnson. LIONS, 24-20.

Seattle (minus 3) at Arizona

Arizona makes it two in a row at home over Seahawks. CARDINALS, 31-24.

Kansas City (plus 12) at Chicago

Larry Johnson finally shows up. But so does Rex Grossman against a soft Chiefs' defense. BEARS, 24-17.

New York Jets (plus 10 1/2) at Baltimore

Ravens offense could use some videotaping help. Defense makes up for it. RAVENS, 10-7.

Oakland (plus 10) at Denver

Jay Cutler is no John Elway, but builds off game-winning drive from a week earlier. BRONCOS, 34-25.

Monday

Washington (plus 7) at Philadelphia

Eagles are too busy lamenting over 2005 Super Bowl loss to Patriots. Barely squeak by. EAGLES, 27-23.

LAST WEEK: 7-9 (straight up); 8-6-2 (spread)

Comments and criticisms can be sent to Clarion sports reporter Matthew Carroll at matthew.carroll@peninsulaclarion.com.



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