The Los Angeles Chargers will come into Foxboro on Sunday to take on the Patriots, after the Chargers dominated the Ravens on Saturday. The final score was 23-17, but that was because of a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Ravens; the result of the game was never in doubt.
Patriots Offense vs. Chargers Defense
Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and Derwin James will be problems for the Patriots offense on Sunday. Ingram was the best player for Los Angeles on Saturday, as he was all over the field stopping the Ravens rushing attack. Joey Bosa was not as active as Ingram, but he’s still a great pass rusher that can definitely give New England troubles. However, the Patriots should be able to contain the Chargers pass rush; they arguably have a top five offensive line in the league and the offensive line has not had any bad games this year. Derwin James has been one of the best rookie defenders in the league and was critical in stopping the Ravens rushing attack on Saturday. He may have to switch things up this week, as he could be tasked with guarding Rob Gronkowski. The Chargers secondary should match up pretty easily with the Patriots’ receivers, but they rank last in receiving yards to running backs, so unleashing James White would be a good idea for Josh McDaniels.
Chargers Offense vs. Patriots Defense
Melvin Gordon struggled against the Ravens and came away with an injury, but the Patriots are awful against the run and it would make sense for Gordon and pass catcher Austin Eckler to get lots of touches. The early forecast is also projecting snow, so it makes sense for both teams to keep the ball on the ground. Other than the running backs, the Patriots will have to focus on receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen and tight end Hunter Henry, who was activated Monday after tearing his ACL in May. Stephon Gilmore was voted an all-pro and should be able to lock down either Williams or Allen. The Patriots always mix up coverages to confuse opposing quarterback as much as possible, so nothing will be set in stone, but J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore should take on most of the responsibility. The Patriots have been very bad against tight ends all season and the return of Hunter Henry will not help anything. How healthy is Henry is a concern for all Chargers fans; he tore his ACL in May and there is no way Henry is fully healthy in just seven months and 18 days removed from the injury.
Both teams are very closely matched, and this should be a close game that comes down to the final possession. Both teams should score around the mid to upper 20’s in points, and whoever wins has a very good chance at going all the way.
Chargers: +4 (+160)
Patriots: -4 (-180)
Over/Under: 48 (-110)