Tomorrow, the 5-2 New England Patriots will host the 3-4 Los Angeles Chargers. Like the home team, the visitors will also head into the contest on a three-game winning streak, so naturally the Patriots have to face a talented opponent that currently is one of the hottest teams in the NFL – in all three phases of the game.
New England head coach Bill Belichick illustrates this in the latest episode of patriots.com's The Belestrator:
A closer look at the Chargers in all three phases of the game.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 28, 2017
BB previews Sunday's opponent on the Belestrator: pic.twitter.com/yabBVmPt4g
The preview of the upcoming opponent starts with Belichick taking a look at the Chargers' punt return team and how it is able to create favorable matchups for returnman Travis Benjamin. New England's coach focuses on both the unit's double vice technique – doubling and oftentimes eliminating the outside gunners – as well as Benjamin's vision to navigate his way through the remaining blockers.
Next up, Belichick takes a look at Los Angeles' defense, especially the unit's ability to apply pressure on quarterbacks. “The pass rush really starts with [Joey] Bosa and [Melvin] Ingram on the outside,” the coach points out while acknowledging the duo's ability to collapse the pocket and minimize the space opposing passers have to operate in. “Our pass protection against these guys is going to be key,” Belichick notes in the clip.
The future Hall of Famer moves to the Chargers' offense for the final part of the breakdown: “This is an excellent third down team,” Belichick says about Los Angeles while also noting the high quality of skill position players and quarterback. The ability to convert third and longs routinely as well as making plays with the football in the receivers' hands are two of the strengths mentioned by the coach.
All in all, it appears as if the Patriots will have to be on the top of their game in two areas that they have been inconsistent in over the first seven weeks of the season: pass protection on offense and defending the pass on defense. Last week's game against the Atlanta Falcons already was a step in the right direction in both areas – if the Patriots want to move to 6-2, the units need to take advantage of the momentum.