It’s almost unbelievable that the Pats actually pulled off a win against the Cardinals last week. They found a way to slow down Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Now they have another young phenom in Justin Herbert to conquer. He hasn’t been able to finish many games in the win column, so this should be a team they can take down to start their west coast visit.
The Pats offense was far from a well oiled machine last week, but managed to do enough to win. The good news is that the Chargers defense has been in the same boat, so they might actually be able to put up some points this week. They’re going to need them to keep up with Herbert. The best way to do that is stick to what works. That means they need to go back to the chemistry Cam and Jakobi Meyers had going for a couple of weeks. There’s no need to worry about Harry anymore, or get Gunner involved in the offense. Meyers knows exactly what Cam is looking for, and Byrd and Cam have been very much on the same page as well. Everything should be directed to them in the passing game until someone decides to stop it.
The run game is going to be the major key against the Chargers though. Last time they met was in the playoffs, and Sony Michel had a career day against them. Michel is available to play again, and he might just surprise us and try to repeat that performance. Otherwise, Damien Harris can absolutely replicate that performance as well. They just need to protect the ball they way they did against Baltimore, and keep the Chargers offense off the field for long periods of time.
If they defense was able to hold Kyler Murray at bay, I don’t see why they can’t do it again this week. Herbert has had an unbelievable rookie season, but he is also prone to making a few mistakes a game. They are going to have to treat Keenan Allen the same way they did DeAndre Hopkins. That guy has been absolutely unstoppable over the past couple of weeks. The keys will be on him and Hunter Henry, and the rest will have to fall into place. They do have other weapons, like Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams, but they are more secondary options where that can force mistakes to happen. This is an offense that they can keep control of, as long as they execute as well as last week.
This might be the highest scoring game we have seen since week 2, but that’s how they’re going to have to win. 34-30 Pats.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)