LA Chargers: Getting to know the New England Patriots
By Devon Auriemma
The Patriots’ offense comes into this matchup ranked inside the bottom half of the league in yards and points per game. Most of their success on offense comes from running the football. They average the fifth-most rushing yards per game in the NFL.
They use a backfield by committee which features Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, James White and Cam Newton. Newton has been a goal-line nightmare for opposing defenses. He is tied for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in the league with nine and is only trailing Kyler Murray for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Newton has struggled passing the ball this season as he only has four touchdowns while throwing nine interceptions. He has a passer rating of 79.8 which is in the fifth-lowest by a starting quarterback.
The Patriots’ receivers don’t have great numbers on the year due to their success on the ground, but a couple of them who have been playing well lately are Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers. Byrd leads the team in targets (55) and receiving yards (502) while catching one touchdown, while Meyers leads in receptions (36) and has 443 yards.
Rex Burkhead leads the team in receiving touchdowns with three. Patriots’ running backs have combined for 65 catches on 84 targets for 522 yards and three touchdowns.
Their defense has had their ups-and-downs this season but has played well for the most part. Last week, they were able to contain one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL in Kyler Murray.
They held the Cardinals to under 300 total yards and sacked Murray twice while forcing an interception. A couple of weeks before that, they held the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to 17 points. Their defense is in the middle of the league in yards and points per game allowed but they have been able to beat good offenses.
The Patriots struggle to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks as they only have 15 sacks on the year, led by Chase Winovich who has 3.5. Stephon Gilmore returned against the Texans after missing three games with a knee injury. While his numbers are down from his past two seasons, he is still one of the league’s top corners and is someone to watch for the Patriots defense.