Is anyone nervous for Sunday?
It is a serious question and not intended to be a knock on the Patriots. The Los Angeles Chargers (that's right, they play in LA these days, not San Diego), are doing well this season--well enough to the point that the Patriots are only four point favorites headed into this matchup on basically all of the major sports books.
Honestly though, I've got a little secret for you. These Chargers are a little overrated.
They may have gone 12-4 this season, but Pro Football Reference does not think they are a 12-4 team, for what it is worth. They let up 329 points this season which gave them the fourth best defense in the game while they scored 428 points per contest--good for the sixth most points for a team during the regular season. Everything they did adds up to an expected 10.4-5.6 record or in other words, 10-6.
Meanwhile, if you look at what the Patriots did--despite all the setbacks at wideout early in the season and all that--it's better.
The Pats scored 436 points during the regular season (the fourth most of any NFL team) while their defense ranked seventh, letting up 325 points per game. This adds up to a 10.7-5.3 expected wins in losses or, in other words, 11-5--which is what they went this season.
The points scored and allowed difference might be marginal, but it exists and the Patriots are better despite the worse record of the two opponents--which is saying something.
So do we think the Patriots are going to win on Sunday. Yeah, why not? It seems more probably than not. Playoff Tom Brady tends to get the job done and Devin McCourty and Cordarrelle Patterson should be healthy and ready to go which also helps out the cause.