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Chargers vs Patriots Positional Breakdown – Skill Positions

Chargers Patriots

This coming Sunday the Chargers play the Patriots in Foxborough, two teams who are struggling to add wins. The Chargers sit at 4-7 with an outside chance to reach the playoffs, and the Patriots sit at 2-9 looking to draft in the top five. So, during the course of this matchup, what team will have more firepower to come out on top?

Chargers vs Patriots Week 13 Breakdown


Justin Herbert vs Mac Jones/Bailey Zappe

The most important positional battle relies on the quarterback. The Chargers boast one of the best passers in the league in Justin Herbert, who has put up another great season with a bad team. Herbert has been very productive, whether it is the short passing attack, throwing intermediate, throwing deep, or with his mobility. The Patriots, on the other hand, have had two quarterbacks getting play time, but mainly relied on former first-round signal caller, Mac Jones. Jones has not been great this year, missing easy throws, lazy footwork, and overall bad processing.

Due to this subpar performance, the Patriots will reportedly have backup Bailey Zappe start against the Chargers. Zappe has played sparingly this season, usually coming in to relieve Mac Jones in blowout games, only throwing for 158 yards and four interceptions.

Either way, the Chargers easily win this round. The Chargers would win this positional matchup against at least another 20 teams, so this does not come as a surprise.

Running Back

Austin Ekeler/Joshua Kelley vs Rhamondre Stevenson/Ezekiel Elliott

The Chargers looked to have a very good 1-2 punch with Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, but that has not come to fruition. The fall from grace Ekeler has had is pretty common for running backs around this age, but after two of his best seasons, it still comes as a surprise. In every efficiency metric, Kelley has outperformed Ekeler. This said, this once-thought-of great duo is a very average-at-best duo.

The Patriots boast their own 1-2 punch with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott may not be what he once was, but he has still performed as a solid secondary back, both as a receiver and rusher. New England’s lead back, Stevenson has not been as good as his last season, but has still been much more effective.

The Patriots have nearly 50 more carries between the two rushers compared to the bolts, leading to much more production. This combined with only one fumble between the two Patriots’ backs compared to the Chargers’ three total fumbles, all from Ekeler, gives the Patriots the easy edge in this matchup.

Wide Reciever

Keenan Allen/Quentin Johnston/Jalen Guyton vs Demario Douglas/DaVante Parker/JuJu Smith-Schuster

When you look at the bolts, is really a one-man show at receiver. Keenan Allen has been everything to this offense, already going over 1,100 yards through 11 games and an AC Joint Sprain. Outside of the illustrious Allen, there has been nobody. Especially nobody currently healthy. You have Quentin Johnston who has not lived up to his expectations, and quite frankly has been extremely disappointing. The last receiver in the Chargers’ top three is Jalen Guyton who has just come back from an ACL injury and has been targeted 13 times in his three games since his return. A total of 45 yards for Guyton.

When you look at the Patriots, they have taken a much different approach than the Chargers. They have relied on a committee of receivers, but their top three in yards start with Demario Douglas. Douglas has been a very surprising young talent, recording 410 yards on 36 catches. New England’s second receiver has been the 30-year-old DeVante Parker, who has failed to create much separation at all this year, but has showed enough physicality in his time healthy to produce. Lastly, the Patriots third receiver is the once-productive Smith-Schuster, who has not been the same since injuries. Schuster has recorded 159 yards and a touchdown, and looks to have a vintage game against the weak Chargers pass defense.

This matchup is really a pick-your-poison type of selection. If you prefer depth and playmakers of different varieties, but not number one receiver the Patriots would be your choice. If you prefer to have that always double-teamed type of receiver, with little to no help, the Chargers are your choice. However, having Allen as arguably one of the best receivers in the league would have most lean toward the bolts receiving corps.

Tight End

Gerald Everett vs Hunter Henry

Both tight ends possess very similar statistics but play very different roles for their respective teams. Everett relies on his ability after the catch to produce, as he is a very tough tackle. The issue with the Former Ram is that he simply does not get the ball enough. On his 25 catches on 31 targets, he has 210 yards and three touchdowns through 9 games.

The former Charger, Hunter Henry has also had a very solid season playing in 11 games and recording 30 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Henry has also been a very solid blocker for the Patriots and has been their best chain mover with 20 first-down receptions.

The Patriots have the edge in this matchup as Everett simply does not get the ball enough, and Henry has been arguably the best player in a very bad offense.

Main Photo: Orlando Ramirez – USA Today Sports


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