Patriots: Ranking the 2020 regular season opponents
8. Los Angeles Chargers (AWAY – Week 13)
The league was kind enough to schedule New England’s two road games against the L.A. teams back to back in 2020.
Perhaps Roger Goodell finally decided it was time to atone for the sins he committed against the Patriots during the whole Deflategate witch hunt … especially now that Brady’s no longer even on the team.
Whatever the rationale, it works to the benefit of Bill Belichick’s team immensely.
Rather than having to make two separate trips to the West Coast and adjust to the time zone difference and all that — a grueling proposition for any East Coast franchise — the Pats will never travel just once most likely. They’ll come out for this Sunday game against the Chargers and then stay in Los Angeles for another four or five days (the Rams game that follows is on a Thursday) before heading back to Foxborough.
Particularly given the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic and concerns over how safe air travel will be (the Patriots do have a private plane for their players), it just makes sense to stack these two games next to each other.
The Chargers have historically rolled over against the Patriots — especially the post-LT Chargers. It doesn’t hurt that they rarely have home fans in their own stadium, too. Even back in San Diego, it was common for Patriots fans to make up a sizable contingent in the stands at Qualcomm, leading Brady and other New England players to comment after road wins that it often almost felt like a home game.
The Pats should continue to enjoy this West Coast welcome in 2020. Yes, both the Chargers and Rams will be playing in their brand new SoFi Stadium, but it remains to be seen whether that actually changes the make-up of their fanbase in the stands. There’s a solid chance both teams will continue to see more road team fans than home team fans in the crowd — particularly the Chargers.
From a football standpoint, this game is listed as a pick-em right now. Los Angeles will either have Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert under center, but either way, they’ll have a spectacularly talented surrounding offensive cast — not to mention an underrated defense.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see New England lose this time around against the Bolts.