New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers – NFL Week 13, 2020
The New England Patriots are still alive when it comes to the AFC playoff race. If you ask Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn, his Chargers are not.
That right there could be the most glaring difference between coaches like Lynn and Bill Belichick, while the former’s poor game management has burned the Bolts time and time again.
Lynn and company will hope that isn’t true come Sunday, when the Pats and Chargers will face off.
The betting sites presently list the Pats as ever so mild underdogs, which could make betting on this game a bit difficult. To gauge which way to lean, join me for my Patriots vs. Chargers prediction and betting pick.
Patriots vs. Chargers Odds
If you take a quick look at my early week 13 NFL betting lines breakdown, you’ll see that the line for this game hasn’t moved an inch.
L.A. has been featured as the home favorite the whole week, and it probably won’t change at this point. You’ll get slightly rewarded for going with the underdog Pats, although the price feels right no matter which way you convince yourself to bet.
This game really does feel like a toss-up, too. It almost literally is from a pricing perspective, but the Patriots are just 5-6 and have been impossible to trust all season. Los Angeles, meanwhile, has been in literally every single game this year, but simply can’t get out of their own way.
The only bet that seems to be giving itself away might be the total, as it comes in at a fairly low 47. New England’s style of play works against it a bit, but the Chargers push the pace, put up points, and really don’t stop anyone.
So, which way should you bet on the Patriots vs. Chargers in week 13? Let’s take a closer look at both teams to make that call.
New England Patriots Form
Every week it finally feels right to mail it in on the Pats, they bust back out of the water, gasping for air. This team just will not sink, as they’ve fought back after a slow start and are now 3-2 over their last five games.
New England doesn’t burn you through the air in any capacity. They don’t have the weapons to do it consistently, and Cam Newton has proven to be much more valuable on the ground.
The Pats prefer to grind games out and execute in the red-zone, and they’ve done it pretty well lately (9th best RZ scoring percentage over the last three weeks). That hasn’t been the story on the year, but if this is who they are now, a poor L.A. defense could have some issues here.
New England averages the second most rushing attempts per game, and against the NFL’s 18th ranked run defense, that is a clear advantage. The Pats would be in trouble in a shootout, but based on their controlled offense and their potential on defense (they stifled Kyler Murray last week), that seems doubtful.
Los Angeles Chargers Form
The Justin Herbert MVP chatter hit a wall last week. He’s still on pace for the best NFL rookie season by a quarterback, of course.
#Chargers rookie QB Justin Herbert has thrown 23 TD passes this season. With 5 more games left, he's on track to easily shatter Baker Mayfield's rookie record of 27 TD passes. pic.twitter.com/Fni4TVK03y— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 4, 2020
Herbert is great, and the return of a healthy Austin Ekeler opens up this dynamic and explosive offense even more. All of that is undoubtedly scary, but this is still a rookie passer at the controls, and he looked much more human against the Bills last week.
New England’s defense has been nowhere near the shutdown unit it was in 2019, but Bill Belichick still seems fully capable of creating havoc for a young quarterback.
That, and Anthony Lynn keeps making absurd decisions throughout games. His latest came at the end of L.A.’s game with the Bills, where he opted to run straight up the middle at the goal-line.
Considering it burned precious seconds off the clock and he had no timeouts, this was a highly questionable move.
Herbert potentially suddenly being human and Lynn’s boneheaded errors make the Chargers tough to trust. Besides, for all of their offensive sexiness, this is still a team that has won three games and is 1-4 over their last five.
Patriots vs. Chargers Pick
This game could go either way, in theory. The Chargers have the vastly superior offense, they have the better pure passer, and they’re at home.
If you want to go with the Bolts, I can’t blame you. However, if you’re into L.A., the safer play may be to just assume Herbert and co. roll again, and their defense plus the pace of this game leads to an easy Over bet.
That’s the secondary play, though. The better play is the Pats just getting it done and stealing this game.
Coaching matters in sports, and Bill Belichick can run circles around Anthony Lynn. You better believe Belichick will have a game plan dialed up to generate pressure on Herbert and confused him with a multitude of looks.
New England also has an edge on the ground here, so they could control this game and just execute in the red-zone. All of this gets me off the Chargers and away from the total, straight to the Pats as the winner.
Patriots to Win+105