Los Angeles Chargers (3-4 SU, 3-3-1 ATS, 3-4 O/U) at New England Patriots (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS, 4-3 O/U)
When and Where: Sunday, Oct. 29, Mercedez Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La., 1pmET
Line: New England -7.5
The Los Angeles Chargers opened the season losing their first four games, before winning their last three. The Chargers dominated Denver on Sunday, winning 21-0 for their first home win since they relocated from San Diego. New England has also won three straight, after beating Atlanta in “Fog-borough” on Sunday night, 23-7. The Patriots have righted the ship after losing to Carolina on Oct. 1 (33-30) at home.
Chargers rev up the defense
The Chargers didn’t face an offensive juggernaut on Sunday, but shutting out Denver is still very impressive. They held Denver to just 251 total yards and just 69 on the ground. They also won despite passing for just 162 yards and rushing for 80. Phillip Rivers completed 15 of 26 for 183 yards with two TDs and no picks in an efficient day. But the hero was speedy wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. He ended the scoring with a 42-yard pass from Rivers for a TD that put a stamp on the game with 4:52 left.
The defense was led by Joey Bosa, who had two of the Chargers’ five sacks. The shutout defeat was the first since a 24-0 loss to the LA Raiders in 1992. Defensive end Chris McCain added two sacks and four tackles. On the season, the Chargers are 17th overall in total offense (330.4ypg) and eighth in passing yards per game (251.3ypg). They rank 13th in overall defense (326ypg) and fifth against the pass (185.4ypg). Rivers has 1,816 yards passing with 12 TDs and five picks.
Pats win ugly one in the fog against the Falcons
So much for the overhyped so-called Super Bowl rematch. All New England needed was a Tom Brady 11-yard pass to Brandin Cooks and a 2-yard pass to James White for touchdowns in the second quarter to rout the Falcons. Stephen Gostkowski nailed three field goals to boost a Patriots offense that wasn’t spectacular but did enough to win because their defense was terrific. Atlanta did manage to rush for 120 yards and pass for 223, but they couldn’t finish any drives. Maybe the fog in Foxborough bothered the Falcons, especially kicker Matt Bryant, who had a kick blocked and 36-yarder that went off the left upright.
Brady completed 21 of 29 for 249 yards and two TDs. Running back Dion Lews added 76 yards on 13 carries. Brady has 2,208 yards passing with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions (108.4 QB rating). Not bad for a 40-year old. The Pats rank first in the NFL in offense with 410.7 yards per game and second in passing yards (300ypg). They rank last on defense in yards allowed (426.7ypg) and last in passing yards allowed (310.3ypg).
LA Chargers are:
- 1-4 ATS last 5 in Week 8.
- 3-8-1 ATS last 12 overall.
New England is:
- 10-4 ATS last 14 vs. AFC.
- 5-0 ATS last 5 in Week 8.
The Chargers are a nice story but they are taking advantage of bad teams, even Oakland at the time. The Patriots’ defense is improving each game because Bill Belichick is a genius. The Chargers have some explosive weapons but they also have an aging quarterback in Rivers, who can’t move. Belichick will exploit that as well.
Pick: New England
The Chargers are not going to win a shootout so they have to keep this game low-scoring. Their defense has been very good as of late, and with Bosa and that pass rush, they could bother Brady early on. The Chargers are 4-0 Under last 4 vs. NFC and 4-1 Under last 5 vs. New England. New England is 7-3 Under in October.