The match up this Sunday between the Patriots and the Chargers brings two teams together that have won their last three games. The Patriots are coming off a 23-7 victory over the Falcons and the Chargers shut out the Broncos 21-0 last week. This will be an opportunity for the Chargers to show they can be legit contenders this year in the AFC while the Patriots will be looking to continue their momentum going forward into the second half of the season.
The key for the Patriots in this game will be to slow down the Chargers explosive pass rush. Left tackle Nate Solder and Right tackle Marcus Cannon will have their hands full trying to handle the dynamic duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, two very talented defensive end/edge rushers. They have been very productive this season and crucial to the Chargers success on defense as both have acquired at least 7 sacks already this season, Ingram (8.5) and Bosa (7.5).
The offense will first need to have a balanced attack with the run game complimenting the pass. Running back Dion Lewis has been playing like he is finally 100 percent healthy and should be part of the game plan this Sunday to keep the defense honest. The running backs can also be used to help on the edge rush by “chipping” the defensive ends or linebackers to help the tackles.
Pass protection calls from Tom Brady will also be a factor. Last week, on a play where he got sacked and also fumbled but fell on it in the process, called for the wrong pass protection and left a defender free to Brady’s blindside. It will be important for the pass protection calls and adjustments to be on point in order to help the offensive line to be in the best position possible.
The Patriots have already given up 18 sacks this season and it will be a focus moving forward to improve in this area if they want to contend for another championship. As a team the Chargers have recorded the fourth most sacks in the NFL with 23.