The New England Patriots present enough of a problem that you can’t expect to leave Foxborough with a win if you compound things with self-inflicted wounds. After all, the Pats certainly won’t make those types of mistakes. There’s a lot to be said about New England’s dynasty over the past two decades, but what isn’t said enough is how they simply don’t beat themselves.
However, Head Coach Anthony Lynn made sure to make that a focal point earlier this week. There’s so much to marvel about the Patriots, but the manner in which they go about their business is unrivaled. Thus, as Lynn stressed, the Chargers must play a similar type of ball if they expect to beat New England on their home turf
The goal remains the same as last week. It’s imperative to get after the passer. The Chargers did just that in the Wild Card win against the elusive Lamar Jackson, sacking him seven times to tie the team’s franchise mark for postseason sacks in a single game.
They go up against a completely different type of passer this week in Tom Brady…yet the challenge figures to be even harder than a week ago. In fact, it’s likely their biggest challenge all year as the Patriots gave up the third fewest sacks in the NFL this season (21). However, Brady was not just adept at evading sacks.
The Patriots allowed the lowest pressure rate of any team in the NFL (17.4 percent). Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are two of the best at getting after the quarterback, but they also figure to be in for a long day as New England allowed the lowest rate of pressure from the edge (9.6 percent). As Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley explained, there are many reasons why Brady is one of the best at avoiding sacks:
Tom Brady obviously gets a lot of publicity as one of the greatest to ever play the game, but the 2018 New England Patriots also boast one of the most versatile, dangerous running back rooms in the NFL. Simply put, they have three RBs who can beat you in various ways in James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead.
White enters the playoffs as one of the NFL’s most versatile weapons. He set a franchise record for a running back with a team-high 87 catches, which were good for 751 yards and seven touchdowns. The former Wisconsin star also carried the ball 94 times for 425 yards and five touchdowns.