TURNOVERS- Win the turnover battle, win the game. Of course holding onto the ball when guys are trying to rip it out of your hands isn't as easy as it sounds. In 7 games the Patriots have turned over the ball 11 times. While they recovered from some of those miscues, some of them sealed their fate. Having only played 6 games, the Chargers have 6 turnovers to go with their 9 takeaways. Both quarterbacks have not thrown an interception when ahead. Mac has thrown all 6 of his interceptions while trailing. Herbert has thrown 3 picks when trailing and 1 when tied. In his 21 NFL games, Herbert has thrown a touchdown pass in all but one game. That one game was last season against the Patriots. In all Herbert has had 3 games where he has thrown 2 interceptions. He is 0-3 in those games. Yes, the Patriots did pick him off 2 times last year.
PENALTIES- Although this has been an unacceptable amount of penalties for a Belichick coached team, 42 penalties over 7 games is better than the 43 over 6 games by the Chargers. Ideally, any penalties called or not called don't determine the outcome.
GET OFF THE FIELD- The Patriots defense has had some trouble getting off the field recently. Typically it looks like the following scenario, about to cause their opponents to go 3 and out, the team gives up a big first down. Their opponent then continues to move the ball down the field and into the endzone, all while wearing down the defense and keeping the offense on the sideline. The Chargers are only slightly better than the Patriots at moving the chains on 3rd down. Unfortunately, they are really good at moving the chains on 4th down. This season they have gone for it 12 times and been successful 8 times. On those 12 attempts, Herbert has kept it himself 2 times and aired it out 8. Of Herberts 5 4th down completions, Keenan Allen has had 3 of them and Jared Cook has had 2.
TRICK OR TREAT- The Patriots have executed some trick plays in recent weeks. Earlier in the season the Chargers really fooled the Raiders with their well executed fake field goal attempt. In addition to being ready for some tricks, the Patriots should add this one to the mix.