NFL Sunday Night Betting Preview: New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers

New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, Chargers

Sunday, December 7, 2014, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: New England -3
Current Line: New England -3 1/2
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 52 1/2
Opening Money Line: Patriots -186 / Chargers +169
Current Money Line: Patriots -180 / Chargers +160

The Patriots travel to San Diego to face the Chargers in a battle of AFC playoff contenders.
The Patriots travel to San Diego to face the Chargers in a battle of AFC playoff contenders.

The 9-3 New England Patriots and 8-4 San Diego Chargers are both in the thick of the AFC playoff race as they meet Sunday night in San Diego. The Patriots lead the AFC East by two games over the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. New England is also tied with the Denver Broncos for the #1 seed, but the Patriots hold the tiebreaker by beating the Broncos earlier in the season. San Diego is a game behind the Broncos in the AFC West, and is alone for the #5 seed ahead of six teams at 7-5.

New England leads the series 6-3 against San Diego since 2001. The six wins include a couple of playoff wins in 2007 and 2008. The Patriots have won 5 of the last 6 games in the series, but they haven’t played since a 35-21 New England win at home in 2011.

New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have road losses at the Dolphins 33-20, Kansas City Chiefs 41-14, and last week against the Green Bay Packers 26-21. The Green Bay loss snapped a 7 game winning streak for New England. The Patriots have road wins at the Minnesota Vikings 30-7, Bills 37-22, and Indianapolis Colts 42-20, along with home wins over the Oakland Raiders 16-9,  Cincinnati Bengals 43-17, New York Jets 27-25, Chicago Bears 51-23, Broncos 43-21, and Detroit Lions 34-9. New England is 7-5 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season. The Patriots were 2.5 point underdogs at Green Bay and the total was 57.

San Diego is coached by Mike McCoy. The Chargers have road losses at the Arizona Cardinals 18-17, Broncos 35-21 and Dolphins 37-0, along with a road loss at the Kansas City Chiefs 23-20. San Diego has won 3 straight games. The Chargers have home wins over the Seattle Seahawks 30-21, Jacksonville Jaguars 33-14, Jets 31-0, Raiders 13-6, and St. Louis Rams 27-24, along with road wins over the Bills 22-10, Raiders 31-28, and last week against the Baltimore Ravens 34-33. San Diego is 6-6 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Chargers were 6.5 point underdogs against the Ravens and the total was 45.5.


New England is outscoring teams 32-21. The Patriots are #3 in  scoring and #13 points allowed. New England is averaging 380 yards per game on offense including 270 passing yards and 111 rushing yards. The Patriots are #6 in total offense and #7 in passing. On defense, New England is allowing 361 yards per game including 251 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Patriots are 78/174 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 72/173. The Patriots have forced 28 sacks and allowed 17 this season. New England is +1 in turnovers. The Patriots have three defensive scores and a special teams touchdown and have allowed one defensive touchdown this season.

Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 64.8% of his passes for 3,243 yards with 28 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He is probable with an ankle injury. If Brady somehow can’t go, then rookie Jimmy Garoppolo will start. He looked decent in garbage time of the KC blowout.

Running back Shane Vereen has 81 carries for 346 yards and a touchdown, along with 44 catches for 379 yards and 3 touchdowns. Vereen is questionable with an ankle injury. Stevan Ridley is out for the season with a knee injury. He had 94 carries for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 catches. Jonas Gray has 70 carries for 336 yards and 4 touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount has 22 carries for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns after returning to the Patriots after being released by Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 65 catches for 910 yards and 9 touchdowns. Receiver Julian Edelman has 77 catches for 743 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 8 carries for 84 yards. He is questionable with a thigh injury. Brandon LeFell has 53 catches for 712 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a shoulder injury.  Tim Wright has 24 catches for 232 yards and 6 touchdowns. Ten defensive players are listed on the injury report.

San Diego is outscoring teams 23-21 this season. The Chargers are #14 in scoring and #12 in points allowed. San Diego is averaging 346 yards per game on offense including 259 passing and 87 rushing yards. The Chargers are #11 in passing and #28 in rushing. On defense, San Diego is allowing 332 yards per game including 222 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Chargers are #8 in total and #7 in pass defense. San Diego is 78/166 in third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 74/165. The Chargers have forced 18 sacks and allowed 24 this season. San Diego is -1 in turnovers. The Chargers have one defensive touchdown and have allowed one as well.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,218 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 89 rushing yards. He is probable with a chest injury. The running game has been almost non-existent. Running back Brandon Oliver has 118 carries for 431 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 27 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Mathews has 63 carries for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns, pplus 8 catches for 65 yards. Donald Brown has 66 carries for 164 yards, along with 18 catches for112 yards. Danny Woodhead is out for the season with an ankle injury.

Receiver Keenan Allen has 72 catches for 764 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Malcolm Floyd has 39 catches for 689 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Antonio Gates has 47 catches for 574 yards and 9 touchdowns. Eddie Royal has 43 catches for 532 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Eight defensive players are listed as questionable or out for the Chargers, along with 7 offensive linemen.

New England is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 after failing to cover, overall and against AFC teams, 35-15-1 after a straight up loss, 5-12 in road games, 2-5 against teams with winning home records, 3-8 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, and 0-9 on grass. The last 4 games in San Diego in this series have gone under the total.

San Diego is 10-1 ATS in week 14, 5-1 after a cover, 5-2 against teams with winning records, 7-3 after a straight up win, 4-9-1 after allowing more than 30 points, 2-7-1 after scoring more than 30 points, 1-5 against AFC teams, 1-6 overall, 1-8 against teams with winning road records, 0-4 after gaining 350 total yards or more, and 0-6 on grass.

The Patriots looked almost unstoppable until they had to go to Lambeau last week against the Packers. San Diego has won three straight games but all by one possession. I think the Patriots win despite having to travel across the country.

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