The LA Chargers host the New England Patriots in Week 13 of the NFL season.
The Patriots could theoretically get into the NFL Playoffs and are close enough where their fans can still hold out hope. The Chargers, meanwhile, are 3-8 with a large portion of the fanbase actually preferring to lose this game to help the draft stock.
Even if there are no playoff stakes at risk this is an interesting matchup. Justin Herbert is on pace to have the greatest rookie season in NFL history and Bill Belichick notoriously thrives against rookie quarterbacks.
As we do every week, the Bolt Beat staff got together to predict both the winner of this game and the final score. The point total for this game, according to The Action Network, is set at 47 points.
Staff predictions for LA Chargers vs. New England Patriots
Alex Insdorf (12-8): New England Patriots 27, LA Chargers 24
“Without Denzel Perryman, the defense is missing a key run stopper. They definitely will give Cam Newton problems, but it won’t matter if Damien Harris and James White are causing too much trouble.
The Pats just tend to be better disciplined when it comes to special teams play in general. Just can’t see Anthony Lynn consistently outcoaching one of the league’s best coaches for 60 minutes right now.”
Brandon Viera (8-12): LA Chargers 27, New England Patriots 21
“The Chargers defense should be capable of keeping New England in check through the air. Where they may struggle mightily is the run game of the Patriots. Still, I don’t think the Patriots offense is going to put up a crazy score, while the Chargers will likely limit themselves offensively once again.”
Devon Auriemma (16-6): LA Chargers 27, New England Patriots 24
“The Chargers defense will be successful in this game if they can force Cam Newton to throw the ball. He has struggled passing as he only has four touchdowns with nine interceptions. The Chargers offense put up their worst performance since Week 3.
Keenan Allen only had four receptions so feeding him the ball should be one of their top priorities in this matchup. This game could go either way, but I’ll give the Chargers the edge due to Newton’s passing struggles this season.”
Ryan Daley (15-3): LA Chargers 27, New England Patriots 24
“I think this will be a very close game between these two teams. I have this feeling the Chargers might finally be on the right side of a close game this week.”
Steven Haglund (14-6): New England Patriots 20, LA Chargers 17
“I’ll never bet against the Patriots. Especially when Anthony Lynn is coaching against Bill Belichick. The Chargers need to force Cam Newton to beat them with his arm if they’re going to have a chance.”
Tyler Gallagher (15-7): LA Chargers 21, New England Patriots 20
“Like the Chargers, the Patriots always seem to be playing in close games, likely due to their time-consuming offense and above-average defense. Unlike the Chargers, they have tended to come out on top in close games due to consistent coaching and good special teams.
However, they have been prone to turnover gaffes with Cam Newton leading the team, and the Chargers defense finally is beginning to create some turnover opportunities. I say the Chargers are actually able to make something out of those turnovers this week, and they finally win a game against a respectable opponent.”
Jason Reed (13-9): LA Chargers 26, New England Patriots 20
Everything screams that the LA Chargers should lose this game. They are better off losing for draft purposes and there is as big of a coaching difference that you can have in the National Football League.
This game is seemingly too easy from a gambling perspective as well. At the time of writing this, New England is only a one-point favorite. Only 47% of total bets are placed on the Pats, but 63% of the total money is placed on the Pats (meaning the big-money wagers are going towards New England).
This just screams like a game where Vegas wins a lot of money, similar to the Atlanta Falcons-Las Vegas Raiders game last week.
I think Justin Herbert will have a huge day in route to three touchdowns and Cam Newton will get a shot to win it at the end but the Charger defense will hold up.