Patriots

Chargers offense a challenge for Patriots? Jackson gives surprising answer

Patriots

The Los Angeles Chargers offense boasts one of the league's best quarterbacks in second-year star Justin Herbert.

So, the Patriots pass defense has a tough challenge awaiting it Sunday afternoon at SoFi Stadium, right?

"I mean, it's not really a big challenge," Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson said at a press conference Thursday. "We just got to do what we do best. Play our football and trust each other."

The stats suggest the Patriots defense does have a challenge on its hands entering Week 8. Remember, this group gave up 312 passing yards to Houston Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills in Week 5 and allowed Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to throw for 445 yards in Week 6.

Herbert is completing 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,771 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He's thrown 12 touchdowns with only one interception over the last four games, and the Chargers went 3-1 during that span.

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The Chargers' top wide receiver is Keenan Allen, who's on pace to tally 100-plus receptions for the third consecutive year. Jackson likely will find himself in coverage against Allen quite often Sunday afternoon, and this matchup should play a pivotal role the deciding the outcome of the game.

 

“I respect that guy," Jackson said of Allen. "He’s a great route-runner. He’s slick with it. And he’s got hands.”

Allen is hardly the only playmaker for the Chargers, whose offense also features talented wideout Mike Williams and a very versatile running back in Austin Ekeler.

Perhaps the reason for Jackson's confidence as Sunday approaches is the success the Patriots defense enjoyed against Herbert last season. Herbert completed less than 50 percent (26 of 53) of his pass attempts for just 209 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in a 45-0 Week 13 home loss to the Patriots. It was New England's best performance in a season highlighted by disappointment.

Overall, the Chargers are much better right now than they were last season, though, and so is Herbert. If the Patriots don't have the proper focus Sunday afternoon, the Chargers will make them pay.