A Bill Belichick coached Patriots team stands in the way of a Chargers’ win on Sunday. How can the Bolts finally beat them for the first time?
The LA Chargers are no longer in playoff contention. Anthony Lynn said as much himself to the team this week. While some took issue with the comment, it’s still very likely the case that there isn’t a playoff run to be made.
That being said, the team needs to play with some pride and try to win as many of their last five games as possible. Momentum heading into next season is still important.
The Patriots also find themselves in a somewhat similar position. They’re two games better than the Chargers at 5-6, but a playoff run is probably off the table for them too. The quarterback situation there with a declined Cam Newton has just been too much to overcome.
1. Anthony Lynn can’t beat himself
Bill Belichick will be at his best on Sunday. He’s the best coach in the league and Lynn will have to perform well for any chance to win.
At this point, it’s less about attempting to outcoach the opposition rather than avoiding mistakes. Clock management is in particular one of Belichick’s strengths. Against Buffalo, Lynn called quite a few weird timeouts and specifically wasted time before calling them. The Patriots will let opposing teams do that if they please.
While the play calls might be Shane Steichen’s responsibility, it all comes back to Lynn to some extent. Like with penalties, New England will make the opposition suffer from poor 3rd and 4th down play calls. They’ll certainly lock down a speed option to Joshua Kelley on short yardage every time.
Lynn always talks about avoiding mistakes and playing smart football, but it’s time for him to start living by that standard himself when the team puts him in a position to win.