On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Chargers will take on the New England Patriots in Foxborough. The Chargers finished the regular season 12-4 and earned a playoff spot via the wild card. The Patriots went 11-5 and earned themselves a bye into the Divisional round.
Patriots Coming Off a Long Break
The Chargers are coming off a 23-17 victory against the Ravens in Baltimore. The Chargers dominated most of the game, but the Ravens scored a couple times late to make things interesting. Quarterback Philip Rivers had a quiet game going 22 for 32 for 160 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. The running game was also quiet as Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler combined for 69 yards on 28 carries. Melvin Gordon scores the only touchdown of the game for Los Angeles. The hero was kicker Michael Badgley, who went 5 for 6 on field goals with his only miss coming on a blocked kick.
The Patriots last game was on December 30th when they destroyed the New York Jets 38-3. In that game, quarterback Tom Brady went off for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. Brady completed 24 of 33 passes in this one. Sony Michel led the backfield going for 50 yards on 14 carries and James White added 30 yards on just 4 carries. New England did not score a rushing touchdown in this one. Julian Edelman was the leading receiver for the Pats. Edelman fought 5 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Three other Patriot receiver caught touchdowns in this one. James White had 4 catches for 39 yards, Phillip Dorsett caught 5 passes for 34 yards, and Rex Burkhead caught just one pass for 18 yards. White, Dorsett, and Burkhead each had a receiving touchdown.
Chargers Are One of the Best
The Chargers have been one of the best teams in football all season long and are back to full health after dealing with injuries to Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon, their two best offensive players. Gordon got banged up last week but is ready to play. Also, tight end Hunter Henry has a chance to play after being on the PUP list the entire season. The Chargers have been a balanced team this season. The offense ranks 6th in points with 26.8 per game and 11th in yards with 372.6 per game. They are averaging 255.6 passing yards and 117.1 rushing yards per game, good for 10th and 15th in the league, respectively. The defense ranks 9th in yards allowed with 333.7 per game and 8th in points allowed with 20.6 per game.
The Patriots have had yet another successful season and won another division title. The offense has been incredible once again behind the ageless Tom Brady. They put up 27.3 points a game which ranks 4th in the NFL and go for 393.4 total yards each game which is 5th in the NFL. They are 8th in the league in passing yards per game with 266.1 and are 5th in the league in rush yards a game with 127.3. The defense has given up some yards this season but have been able to hold teams to just 20.3 points a game which ranks 6th in the league. They allow 359.1 total yards a game, 246.4 passing yards and 112.7 on the ground. They rank 21st in total yards allowed, 22nd in passing yards allowed, and 11th in rushing yards allowed.
Patriots vs. Chargers Prediction
The Patriots come in at -4. Even though the Chargers have had an incredible season, the Patriots are just too good especially at home. Even though Brady hasn’t had a spectacular season, he finds ways to win football games. When one piece of the team has a bad game, there are always other pieces picking up the slack and that’s why they are a great team. Bill Belicheck will have the Patriots ready to go and they will be rested. Take New England -4.
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