The LA Chargers host the New England Patriots in Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season coming out of the bye week. With the way the Chargers have played the first six weeks of the season, and with the Patriots owning a losing record, some fans may think that this is a pretty easy win for the Bolts.
Vegas agrees that the Chargers are the better team. The Bolts opened as six-point favorites on WynnBET, although the line has since moved down to 5.5 points. While we definitely agree that the Chargers are a better team, we also have to advise fans not to be over confident and discount the Patriots.
The Patriots are a much better team than their 3-4 record indicates. In fact, you can make a few small changes to the Patriots games thus far and their record would be much different.
In Week 1 the Patriots were in a chip-shot field goal range while down one and Damien Harris fumbled the ball. If Harris simply does not fumble the ball there then the Patriots likely beat the Dolphins. If Nick Folk doesn't clank the game-winning field goal against the Bucs then the Patriots would have defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Just right there the Patriots record could easily be 5-2 instead of 3-4. They also took the Dallas Cowboys to overtime in a game that really could have gone either way. They lost, but one small change and they are 6-1.
Of course, their record is what it is and they cannot change those results but the fact still remains that they are better than a typical 3-4 team.
The New England Patriots can also exploit the LA Chargers biggest weakness
The Patriots are a really-well coached team and they will exploit a team's weakness. They did it last year when they shelled the LA Chargers, 45-0. Granted, Brandon Staley is a much better head coach than Anthony Lynn and should not be out-coached in the same manner but he still has a huge hole to deal with.
That is the run defense. It should improve with Justin Jones and Drue Tranquill healthy but it is still going to be a struggle. The Patriots are a team that has always prided itself on being able to run the football and just posted 148 rushing yards against the Jets.
There is a reality in which the Chargers offense does not score early and the Patriots suck the life out of the Chargers with the run game. It could turn into a shootout like it was against Cleveland but the Chargers should not be aiming for another shootout.
The Patriots absolutely can win this football game and it is paramount for the Bolts to get off to a hot start. The best way to combat this run defense problem is to force them to throw the football. How can the Bolts do that? They have to get a defensive stop early and put up two straight touchdowns against the Patriots.
It is easier said than done but if the Chargers take a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter then the Patriots won't be able to run and milk the clock. Suddenly the game is much different, and if that start is accomplished, then it could be a blowout.
Regardless, the New England Patriots are a great test for the LA Chargers out of the bye week to show what they are made of.