Chargers @ Patriots preview: game #8

The Chargers will face their toughest test yet at the halfway point of their season when they travel to New England to take on the Patriots. It's a spot many teams struggle in, a west coast team traveling east for an early kickoff and as such it's possible jet-lag contributes to a slow start.

A travel-induced slow start is the last thing this Charger team, which until last week started slow in just about every game, needs when taking on a Patriots team that still has one of the best offenses in the league and a defense that is showing signs of improvement.

As detailed in the injury report here, the Patriots are the more hobbled of the two teams. The loss of Dont'a Hightower is particularly notable as he's essentially the heart and soul of their defense. The absence of defensive tackle Malcom Brown is also critical and could provide a big boost to a struggling Chargers run game.

The last time these two teams met was in 2014 at Qualcomm when the Patriots won 23-14. The last time the Chargers won a game in this series was in 2008 also at Qualcomm, when they won 30-10. Tom Brady didn't play in that game however as that was the year he missed the entire season with a torn ACL.

The Patriots defense has gotten better the past few weeks, but it still isn't very good and it's definitely the achilles heel of the team. Through the first five weeks of the season the unit was on pace to be historically bad and they've allowed many different opposing quarterbacks to shred them including Deshaun Watson in his first career road start and 37 year old journeyman Josh Mccown just two weeks ago. Philip Rivers should have a field day against this beat up defense.

The key to slowing down Tom Brady is to relentlessly pressure him and throw off his normally impeccable timing and rhythm. The Chargers have the two most talented pass-rushers the Patriots have played all season, and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be the key to the entire game.

If Bosa and Ingram can disrupt Brady and Rivers and the offense can take advantage of the slew of injuries to the Patriots defense, they should have a very good chance at pulling off the upset in Foxborough. Check back after the game for more analysis.

ODDS: The Chargers are 7.5 point underdogs in the game. The over/under in the game is 48.


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