By Dave Thomas
As the Los Angeles Chargers go in search of their fourth straight victory of the season, a sizable roadblock awaits them in the form of the New England Patriots.
Winners of three straight after an 0-4 start, the Chargers look to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England this Sunday.
In order for Los Angeles (3-4) to have a shot at defeating New England (5-2), the Bolts will need to have everything fall into place.
Run Versus Pass
Any attempt to beat the defending Super Bowl champions will start and end with establishing a running game.
Coming into Sunday’s contest, the Chargers have the 30th-ranked rushing attack (out of 32 teams) in the NFL. Averaging a mere 79.1 yards per game (ypg), the Chargers will have to step that up and then some to beat the Patriots.
New England enters the game with the 2nd-ranked passing attack in the league. Averaging 300 yards per passing a game, the Patriots will definitely test a Los Angeles secondary that can be beaten at times. The Chargers will look to counter with the one-two punch of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to apply pressure to Brady.
In their three wins to date, the Chargers have been turning up the defensive heat more and more.
Last Sunday’s 21-0 shutout of Denver meant the first time since 1992 that the Broncos had been held scoreless in a regular season game. While the odds of keeping New England off the board at home are slim to none, Los Angeles can’t afford to let Brady & Co. have a field day with the ball.
Overall Healthy Outlook For Sunday
Heading into the meeting with the Patriots, the Chargers have an overall healthy outlook. One of the few question marks is the status of starting running back Melvin Gordon.
Gordon is currently dealing with a foot injury—one that left him questionable for Sunday despite getting in a full practice on Friday. The third-year back was just recently dealing with a shoulder injury. For the season, Gordon has 394 yard rushing on 117 carries. Best of all, Gordon has accounted for seven touchdowns this season, four of which have come through the air.
Meanwhile, kicker Nick Novak is nursing an ankle injury, though he did get in a full practice before the team was to head to the East Coast. Given the Chargers’ kicking woes the first few games of the season, having Novak ready to go this weekend will be key. There very well could be a tight contest unfolding in Foxboro. If that’s the case, having a healthy kicker available will prove important.
After this Sunday’s visit to New England, Los Angeles will settle into its bye weekend to open up November. From there, the Chargers have a road date on Nov. 12 at Jacksonville.
Los Angeles reported the following injury update as of Friday:
- (TE) Antonio Gates (Knee) – Full Practice
- (K) Nick Novak (Ankle) – Full Practice
- (OT) Joe Barksdale (Foot) – Did Not Practice
- (RB) Melvin Gordon (Foot) – Full Practice
- (DT) Corey Liuget (Back) – Full Practice