Too Much Offense
The New England Patriots have given up more than 25 points just three times this season. They are 0-3 in those games.
The San Diego Chargers have scored more than 25 points six times this season. They are 6-0 in those games.
Against a good Rams defense and better Ravens defense, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers showed that their offense is currently hitting on all cylinders. The 440 yards of offense they got against Baltimore was their biggest output of the year, and they did it with the running game barely functioning.
I fully expect the Chargers to put up more than 25 points against New England (or anyone, really), which would point to a victory.
About that running game...
Even thought he was mostly a non-factor against the Ravens (except for a gorgeous touchdown run), Mathews' numbers since returning from injury continue to be impressive.
Since returning from injury (per-game average): 13.3 carries, 71.6 yards, 0.67 rush TD
If he stayed healthy for an entire season with those averages, he'd finish with 1147 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs on just 213 carries.
Anyway, I digress. Not only is Mathews running well, but he's getting stronger and healthier while the rest of the league is falling apart after playing 12 weeks of football without much of a break. One of these weeks the Chargers are going to find themselves an early lead against a team with a great offense and they're going to let Mathews carry the ball 25+ times for 150ish yards and it's going to make my heart swell. This should definitely be that week.
In two career games against the Patriots, Mathews totaled 29 touches for 148 yards and 1 touchdown.
Something to Play For
What are the Patriots playing for, really? Sure, they'd like to avoid back-to-back losses, but I don't think anyone would think less of them for losing in Lambeau and Qualcomm. They have a two-game lead in their division over the Bills and Dolphins, with a game against each left on their schedule.
The game against the Chargers has almost no bearing on whether or not they make the playoffs. It could potentially get them the #1 seed down the line, but I don't think players get amped up when the coach says "Let's win this one to make sure we have home field advantage if we make it to the AFC Championship Game!"
When you're wondering which team will show up to play on Sunday, always start by asking which team needs it more. A win over the Patriots puts the Chargers in a really good position to make the playoffs and possibly even win the division. A loss puts them in a pretty terrible spot.
For the Patriots, they're just trying to pile on a win and bounce back after a loss to the Packers.
Go with the team that needs it. The one that will be playing with fire. The winner on Sunday will be the Chargers.
The QBs with the best records in the final four games of the regular season since 1970 (minimum 20 starts) pic.twitter.com/P6embt9R2I— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) December 2, 2014
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a $500,000 one-week fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.