Patriots vs Chargers

Chargers vs Patriots 2019: The New England Patriots will try to continue their home dominance against the Los Angeles Chargers as small betting favorites for their Sunday NFL playoff matchup. The New England Patriots host the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round of the 2019 NFL Playoffs. The New England Patriots will try to continue their home dominance against the Los Angeles Chargers as small betting favorites …

Chargers vs Patriots 2019 Live Stream : How to Watch NFL Football Game Online Free HD TV Coverage

A berth in an eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game is on the line for the Patriots this weekend.

It would be an incredible streak, and one that hasn’t been discussed much on a national level.Since the Patriots’ most recent run of AFC title game appearances began in 2011, no other team has reached more than three conference championships total. The Niners went to three (from 2011-13). The Ravens, Falcons, Seahawks, Broncos, and Packers each went to two.

The Patriots keep chugging along, in position for No. 8.

Unlike past years, a loaded divisional round opponent stands in the way.

The Chargers are as complete a team as there is in the conference. They’ve already won several huge road games. This won’t be a layup for the Pats.

Here are the five things to watch in the matchup:

The Chargers are down to one healthy linebacker after placing Jatavis Brown on injured reserve. Kyle Emmanuel and Hayes Pullard each played one snap versus the Ravens. Los Angeles used seven defensive backs on nearly every snap, and their lack of depth at the linebacker position could force them to utilize the same strategy on Sunday.

The simple solution for the Patriots: Line up in ’21’ personnel with James Develin in the backfield and run the ball right at the Chargers.

When the Patriots go ’21’ personnel (two receivers, a tight end, Develin at fullback, and a halfback) on first-and-10, they run the ball 75.8 percent of the time. They’re somewhat predictable, but nevertheless effective. Those running plays generated an average of 5.1 yards. Conversely, fist-and-10 running plays out of ’11’ personnel — or three receivers — yielded an average of 4.4 yards. When the Patriots go with ’11’ personnel on first-and-10, they’re slightly more varied in their playcalling (58 percent pass, 42 percent run).

In the playoffs, the Patriots figure to ratchet up the creativity. But if the Chargers simply cannot stop them in big formations early, why get too cute?

Last time the Chargers came to Gillette, it was death by a thousand checkdowns.

Gus Bradley’s defense allowed James White and Rex Burkhead to catch 12 passes for 153 yards. There may have been some defensive breakdowns, as Burkhead sometimes caught the ball with 10 yards of open space in front of him, but generally the Chargers were willing to with Tom Brady’s short completions.

The 2018 Chargers allowed 973 receiving yards to running backs, the second highest total by any NFL defense over the past decade. The vulnerabilities are still there. But as the Chargers flood the middle of the field with defensive backs, playing linebacker-free football, they’re perhaps in better position to deal with the short passing game.

The upshot of that? If the Chargers’ zone defenders are concerned with the passes to the flat, Rob Gronkowski could find space between the short and deep zones. This is where Tom Brady could take some shots to the big fella.

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s going to be cold.

How much will this affect a team flying in from Los Angeles?

Advantage definitely goes to the Pats. The coldest game the Chargers played this year was a Week 15 Thursday night win over the Chiefs. The temperature was 39 degrees at kickoff, according to Pro Football Reference.

Philip Rivers has limited experience in sub-30 temperatures. Despite playing in the league for 15 seasons, Rivers is 1-3 in games played in such conditions.

The Chargers were among the league’s most efficient teams on the ground. The Patriots were among the worst at defending the run on a per-carry basis, allowing 4.9 yards a pop.

The two units are trending in opposite directions, though. Los Angeles enters with two banged-up running backs. Melvin Gordon, who posted a career-high 5.1 yards per carry, is nursing a pair of sore knees. Third-down back Austin Ekeler was a game-time decision with a groin injury last week. He didn’t look like himself against the Ravens.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense seemed to find itself in the final few weeks, albeit against inferior competition. Bill Belichick tweaked his personnel, activating defensive tackle Danny Shelton for gameday and promoting 6-foot-6, 295-pound end Ufomba Kamalu from the practice squad. The front seven looked great against the Jets, stuffing running back Elijah McGuire at or behind the line of scrimmage on 10 of his 18 carries.

The New England defensive front needs to keep this going against Gordon and Co.

If the Chargers can run the ball, Philip Rivers’ day gets much, much easier.

As we saw in last week’s Eagles-Bears matchup, everything could come down to the kicker.

Stephen Gostkowski has been doing this for a decade. Michael Badgley — dubbed the “Money Badger” by local media in California — is an undrafted rookie.

So far, so good for Badgley, who hit 5-of-6 field goal attempts at Baltimore in the Wild Card round. His lone miss was blocked.

For his career, Gostkowski is 34-of-38 on field goals in the postseason, an impressive 89.4 percent conversion rate. But he has missed some critical kicks in recent years, including an extra point in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Denver, an extra point in the Super Bowl LI win over the Falcons, plus an extra point and a field goal in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles.

All of those kicks were away from Gillette Stadium.

Kick coverage will also be important. Both teams have explosive returners. Cordarrelle Patterson is among the most dynamic in league history, and Desmond King flashed his big-play ability with a 72-yard kick return in the Wild Card Round. The Patriots’ kickoff unit, which hasn’t been up to its usual standard this season, will be tested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *