3. Consistent rushing attack
The Patriots’ run defense hasn’t been particularly good. Through ten games this season, they rank 21st in the league in opponent rushing yards per game. Simply put, the Chargers have to have a better day running the ball than they did against Buffalo.
In his second week back from injury, it might be time to give Austin Ekeler more carries. Kalen Ballage and Kelley deserve their roles still, but Ekeler is who defenses have to account for. If he gets going in this game with some high yardage runs, this could be a long day for New England.
It’s important to get the ground game going to make New England make tough decisions. Right now, it’s pretty clear that they’re keyed in on Justin Herbert and his receiving targets.
No team in the NFL is currently afraid of the Chargers running the ball. Sure, teams respect Ekeler through the air, but the Bolts have not been getting much offensive line push on running downs.
Herbert throwing 45-50 times a game makes the running game more important as opposed to less. Teams having to respect the run would make the Chargers a lot more dangerous. If they had a viable running game, Herbert could probably drop back 50 times effectively.
The offensive line is the big holdup here, but they have to get more out of a potential Ekeler, Ballage, Kelley trio.