2. The New England Patriots bring the perfect amount of pressure for Justin Herbert
I know, this sounds crazy. Here I am trying to spin to you that pressure on Justin Herbert is actually a bad thing for the New England Patriots. However, there is actually a method to my madness and numbers that back me up.
First of all, Justin Herbert is the best quarterback under pressure this season. Part of that is because he is almost always under pressure, but he has a tendency to be able to extend plays and make things happen when the pocket starts to break down.
The Patriots bring pressure to the quarterback, but not as much as some of the other teams that the Chargers have faced. New England ranks 10th in pressure rate. The Chargers have played three teams ahead of them — the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — while also playing the 11th ranked Kansas City Chiefs.
However, those pressures rarely lead to sacks, which is a good thing for the Chargers. Despite ranking 10th in pressure rate, the Patriots rank 28th in sacks and 20th in QB knockdown rate.
Meaning that the Patriots are often able to get some pressure on the quarterback (which we know Herbert thrives in) but are often not able to complete the job and get the sack. The Patriots do not have the most athletic front seven, so rolling Herbert out of the pocket should be really effective in this game.