Game of the Week

New England Patriots (-0.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers

PATRIOTS: 5-6, 5-6 ATS

CHARGERS: 3-8, 5-6 ATS

Yes, there is still a path to the playoffs for the Patriots, but it disappears forever if they don't win on Sunday. Meanwhile, for the Chargers this is another chance to prove that Justin Herbert is ready to take the next leap in his development.

The key indeces are in for a heck of a contest; the Chargers hold an advantage in Real QBR Differential and Passer Rating Differential thanks to Herbert's heroics. The Patriots have an edge in the Intelligence Index and Rusher Rating Differential.

Yet the interesting factor in this game is how each opponent's defensive is, conceivably, ill suited to contain the other. While the Patriots continue to find ways to make an exotic rushing attack work, the Chargers have struggled to contain the run. And while the Chargers success has been driven almost entirely by their work through the air, the New England passing defense is statistically a far cry from it's 2019 best.

Still, those two shifting mismatches do provide a clue about how this game should be won. While Los Angeles' rushing defense should be a legitimate liability, the Patriots passing defense still features a majority of the talent that drove it forward in 2019 and has played exceptional defense at times in 2020. It's finally (nearly) fully healthy again, and could be in position to run strange formations to confuse Herbert.

Anyone wondering if Herbert's head will be swimming come Sunday should Google the past record of rookie quarterbacks playing against a Bill Belichick-coached defense.

For that reason alone we like New England's chances to reach .500 and remain on the outskirts of the playoff conversation. It may not be pretty, but something tells us come Sunday the Patriots may finally get the job done without an excess of drama away from home.

New England Patriots Analysis Los Angeles Chargers
Value Rank Quality Stat Value Rank
17.29 20 Quality Stats Power Rankings 18.90 23
57% 4 Quality Standings 0% 30
16.67 29 Scoreability 15.80 23
15.20 6 Bendability 12.57 28
-1.47 24 Intelligence Index -3.23 29
6.44 18 Real Passing Yds/Attempt 6.74 12
7.62 29 Defensive Real Passing Yds/Attempt 6.18 10
78.94 21 Real Quarterback Rating 91.50 10
89.10 22 Defensive Real Quarterback Rating 90.48 25
-10.16 24 Real Quarterback Rating Differential 1.02 17
76.60 29 Offensive Passer Rating 99.03 11
95.18 20 Defensive Passer Rating 95.81 21
-18.58 28 Passer Rating Differential 3.22 15
7.00 8 Offensive Hog Index 11.33 15
8.33 9 Defensive Hog Index 12.33 17
-2.30 22 Relativity Index -2.58 23
4,650 18 Total Team Yards 5,175 4
4,502 9 Total Team Yards Allowed 4,858 22
148 14 Total Team Yards Differential 317 10
114.87 3 Offensive Rusher Rating 85.71 28
100.98 19 Defensive Rusher Rating 103.35 20
13.89 7 Rusher Rating Differential -17.64 27