It may only show Week 8 of the PML season on the calendar, but it might as well say Week 18 as two of the AFCs best collide in Foxborough Massachusetts. The Los Angeles Chargers (6-0, 2-0 road) make the cross country trip to pay a visit to the New England Patriots (5-1, 2-0 home). This game may just be a regular season game right now, but it could prove pivotal come playoff time, with the possibility of home field advantage through out the post season being on the table with a victory giving one of the clubs a head to head tie breaker with a win. Both these clubs enter this contest with Super Bowl aspirations, so let’s jump into the numbers.
The Los Angeles Chargers enter the contest averaging 38 points per game (4th), 281 yards passing per game (17th) and 148 yards rushing per game (13th). The offense is led by Oregon alum, Justin Herbert. The signal caller enters the contest with (17td-7int) on the season. His top target who will give defensive coordinators nightmares is Rico Gafford. Gafford comes into the game with 707 yards (7th) and 5 touchdowns (15th). Stephon Gilmore should draw the assignment of shadowing Gafford through out. Out of the backfield it’s dual threat of Austin Ekeler. He enters the game with 742 yards rushing (4th) and the teams 2nd leading receiver with 29 receptions. Expect Mr do it all Kyle Dugger to play a huge role in this game in stepping down to provide a close eye on Ekeler. On the defensive side of the ball it doesn’t get any better than this Los Angeles Chargers team as they lead the PML in all defensive categories. Joey Bosa 12 sacks (#1) and Donte Fowler Jr 7 sacks (#8) provide the pressure up front, while its Derwin James 6 interceptions (#3) and David Morris 5 interceptions (#9) leading the (#1) ranked unit with 30 combined picks on the season.
For the Patriots, they enter the game coming off a get right game on the road vs the Chicago Bears (34-20), following an uncharacteristic drubbing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins (55-3). The Pats enter the contest boasting the #1 scoring offense in the PML 41 points per game. They average 291 yards per game passing (11th) and 128 yards per game rushing (20th). Under center is 2nd year signal caller Feleipe Franks who is blossoming in his first season as a starter. He enters the contest with (16tds-11int) and a (77% completion percentage). Frank’s is coming off his best performance where he put up a whopping 445 yards passing. The top targets for Frank’s, are Dazz Newsome 653 yards (11th) 8 touchdowns (#3) and Tre Nixon 432 yards receiving. Look for both 2nd year players to stretch the field early and often to open up the running attack for Philip Lindsay 636 yards rushing (13th) and 8 touchdowns (7th) on the season. On the defensive side of the ball these pats are no slouch. They enter the contest allowing 23ppg (6th), 238 yards passing per game (6th) and 107 rushing yards per game (6th). They are led by veteran corners Stephen Gilmore and Jonathon Jones who can blanket just about any tandem of receivers in the PML. Josh Uche and Adam Butler enter the game tied for the team lead in sacks (4) for a unit that ranks 5th overall in the department with (21) sacks on the season. The secondary enters the game sporting a no fly zone of their own racking up 17 interceptions (10th) as a unit.
What gives in this heavy weight match up? Is it Derwin James coming up with an interception in the redzone ? Is it Kyle Dugger forcing a fumble late? Can the Chargers make the trip cross country and win? Is Feleipe Franks ready for the big stage? All these questions will be answered in Week 8, so grab yourself a beer or vodka club, sit back and watch two of the elite go at it.