John’s Well-Educated Guesses: Patriots vs. Chargers – Playoff Edition

Here we go.

This has been a weird season.  The 2018-2019 Patriots were more maligned than other versions from the past few years.  Lotta negativity. 

We were terrible on the road at 3-5, (but one of those was a ridiculous miracle that cost us the 1 seed.)  We mostly beat good teams, and lost to bad ones.  Did anyone who beat the Pats make the playoffs?  (I’m too lazy to look this up so I’m positioning it as a rhetorical question.)

Nonetheless, we are right where we should be.  Hosting the divisional playoffs (Don’t forget we were 8-0 at home). 

Chargers aren’t a terrible draw.  They have been good all year and can definitely win, but I just think we should be too much for them.  I am very thankful we are hosting this game and that they have to come cross-country for the second week in a row.  I think that is a big factor.

After watching the Wild Card game last week against a non-functional Ravens offense, I was not particularly impressed with San Diego.  Not sure how much of their attack was game plan, but they didn’t look like they could blow people out.  I think we can out-score them.

This is a run-first team.  Melvin Gordon is the workhorse but he is hurt.  (If we focus on taking away one thing, it should be him.)  He came back after an injury and should play in this one, but not at 100%. 

Most other plays were checkdowns, so it will be important to stop the easy stuff.  They took a few shots downfield and connected on several of them…they will take a chance now and again to keep you honest if they see single coverage.  (I just don’t see them with enough fire-power to go over 30.)

The defense is as good as we’ve seen in my opinion.  Melvin Ingram is a sick-bag and needs to be stopped at all costs.  (What are the odds they would have two impactful Melvins??).  I expect Joey Bosa will show up once or twice too.

They can stop the run very well.  I do not think that is the best way to go at them.  We need to spread it out and pick on whoever their 4th or 5th corner is.  This is a James White game IMHO.

Prediction:  Patriots under 100 on the ground – As I said, this is a good run defense.  I think we attempt to keep them honest early, but abandon the run entirely when it matters.  The score will dictate this entirely.

Prediction:  James White day – He is going to be the secret weapon.  I don’t want to jinx it with a specific prediction, but we will know it when we see it.

Prediction:  Melvin Gordon sits out most of the game – I just have this image of impactful running backs sitting on the bench in the playoffs when their teams need them to beat the Pats.  Leveon Bell and Ladanian Tomlinson will welcome a new member to their club.

Prediction:  Pats win 31- 28 on a late field goal – Playing 60 minutes has not been this team’s forte.  They looked good the last few weeks against bad teams, so I’m praying they keep it together.  I just don’t see our season ending against the Chargers.  Truthfully, I fear no team when we play at home.  Let’s get these punks.