Bolt Beat Staff Picks: Can Chargers overcome defending champs?
By Travis Wakeman
The season has seen a complete turnaround for the Los Angeles Chargers, who have won three games in a row. But if you think fans are excited now, wait until what a win over the New England Patriots will bring.
That is, if the Chargers can get that win.
It’s not going to be easy. The defense will be tasked with stopping Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and company. On defense, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has had his unit looking much better after some rough outings early in the season.
And of course, there’s the fact that the game will be played in Foxborough Stadium.
There’s no doubt that the Chargers have their work cut out for them. Let’s see what the writing staff of Bolt Beat thinks about their chances. Each writer’s win-loss record in picking game this season is in parenthesis.
Alexander Insdorf (4-3): “The Chargers are obviously the underdogs here with it being against the Patriots in New England. But, they’ve gone on a 3 game winning streak very few NFL fans expected after they went 0-4. This is the real test for the Chargers. Going into the bye 3-5 wouldn’t be bad, but going into it 4-4 after beating the defending champs? That’s a statement. The Patriots secondary is notably one of the weakest in the NFL, as is their offensive line. But, they do have Brady, Belichick and Gronk. I’m very tempted to pick the Chargers here and go all in, but I think the experience the Patriots have as well as their ability to finish games gives them the win at home. But it’s gonna be a close, competitive game for sure. LAC 30-NE 31”.
Tanner Wrape (0-0): “The Chargers are coming off a huge divisional win and are riding a three-game winning streak. Their confidence is really starting to emerge and they are competing in all three phases. However, playing the Patriots in Foxborough is going to be a grueling task. However, given the way New England has played this year, they are certainly beatable. Like all Chargers games, this will be close… but I think the Chargers somehow pull it off on a Novak game-winner. 31-28, Bolts.”
Kade Dohmen (1-6): “Patriots are looking like the Patriots once again. Chargers are streaking and playing at their best. This game is going to show just how real the Chargers turnaround is. I think Bolts keep it close, but Brady and Co. pull it out. Patriots, 31-27.”
Tyler Schoon (3-4): “I would love to pick a Chargers win here. And you know what, I think I will. Two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks face each other with solid talent around them, so it’ll come down to defense. And right now, the Chargers have a better one. Neither stud linebacker Hightower nor run-stuffing defensive lineman Brown are playing this week, so Gordon should be involved and run successfully. Final score: Chargers 27, Patriots 23.”
Anthony Totri (4-3): “This Chargers team is quite deceiving when you think about it. A three-game win streak has propelled this team to be considered the “hottest” team in the league. However, they’ll be taking on a Patriots team that still looks like one of the top teams in the NFL. I haven’t seen enough from the Bolts to pick them on the road in NE. Patriots 28 – Chargers 17″.
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Sean Kirk (1-0): “After coming off a win against a struggling Broncos team, the Chargers travel across the country for a 1 PM game in New England. The game will likely be high scoring as the Patriots offense has played very well while the Chargers offense will play a bad New England defense without Hightower, Brown and maybe Gilmore. Ingram and Bosa will need to be at their best as Brady gets the ball out very quick. The Patriots’ tackles have struggled in recent weeks and could be in for a tough game against the NFL’s best pass-rushing tandem. The Patriots defense is very bad and banged up so I think this could be a breakout game for the Chargers’ offense. The pass defense (ranked 4th) has played well all season and could limit the Pats passing offense forcing them to resort to an unbalanced run game. I’ll take the Chargers in an upset because they match up well with the Patriots. Chargers win 31-26”.
Scott Iger (3-4): “Wow, another huge win for the Chargers against the Broncos and we are right back in the race for the division. In the Chargers’ Week 8 matchup with the Patriots, a win would make the Bolts the hottest team in football going into the bye. I have no idea why, but I think the Chargers have a good shot at winning this. Gordon has the game of his career and the Chargers upset the Patriots 28-14.”
Matt Pagels (4-3): “Oh boy. The Chargers, who started 0-4, have the chance to go to 4-4 heading into the bye. Who would have thunk? They play the Patriots, who are on a winning streak of their own and have Tom Brady continuing to perform at a high level. Honestly, I don’t know who to pick. I think the Chargers really have a chance to upset New England, but, you know, Brady is Brady and Belichick is Belichick. If they lose, it doesn’t necessarily end L.A.’s season. But since I’m feeling like the Chargers turned a corner, I’m going to go with the Bolts. Let’s go!”
Travis Wakeman (4-3): “This is going to be unpopular, but I’m not going to share the optimism that many of my fellow writers here have. The Chargers have turned things around and become relevant in a season that was close to being lost. But this is the Patriots, in New England. I honestly don’t see this one even being all that close. Patriots 30, Chargers 17”.