When the Patriots danced after knocking off San Diego in the playoffs, the normally stoic Tomlinson called them out for lacking class. Whether or not the Pats added that in the off-season, they surely added firepower with free agent Adalius Thomas, who tried his hand at nearly every defensive position as a Raven. Says Tomlinson, who rushed for 98 yards but no TDs against Baltimore last year, "The guy is just a freak of nature." LT's a do-it-all guy himself. Not only did he score a record 31 TDs in '06--28 on the ground, three through the air--but he also tossed two TD passes. In this matchup of AFC Super Bowl contenders, may the best slash win.
WEEK 4 ||| SEPTEMBER 30
The legends of
Johnson and Merriman each date to a ferocious hit on Oct. 30, 2005. Merriman,
then a Chargers rookie, laid out Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, giving LJ,
then languishing in Dick Vermeil's doghouse, his chance. Over the next nine
games Johnson rushed for 16 TDs; Merriman, meanwhile, was named defensive
rookie of the year. Since then, Johnson has done some of his best work versus
the stout Chargers, averaging 116 yards and a TD. He'd be even better in those
games if not for Merriman. In three head-to-head matchups, Merriman has ridden
Johnson to the ground 15 times. Rematch: Week 13.