After a 54-13 beatdown of the New York Jets last week, the New England Patriots look to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers this Sunday. The Chargers are coming into the late afternoon matchup with a 4-2 record, while the Patriots now have a 3-4 record.

ABC6 Sports Director Nick Coit says this Sunday’s matchup could end up being a deciding factor in the AFC’s playoff seeding. As the third month of the NFL season approaches, intraconference games become even more important. Every team in the AFC has at least two losses, meaning the Patriots are still in the mix for a playoff spot.

While Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has an impressive 45 touchdown passes in just 21 career games, he had his career-low passer rating when the Chargers were blown out 45-0 by the Patriots last season. The Patriots’ defense was able to disrupt Herbert last season, and Coit says the Patriots will have to take a similar approach if they want to win on Sunday.

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The Chargers have also had an inconsistent start to this season. They had impressive wins over the Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns, but they are looking to bounce back after being blown out 34-6 by the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Coit is also impressed by the Patriots’ continued offensive improvement with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. While Jones is not a flash passer, his accuracy and ability to manage the offense have proved very effective. His comfort in the offense has become more apparent, as his relationship with wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and tight end Hunter Henry continues to improve. Bourne caught all four of his targets last week, and Henry caught a touchdown pass for the fourth game in a row.

If the Patriots offense continues to blossom and the Patriots play a clean game in all three phases, Coit is picking the Patriots to win and reach a .500 record this Sunday.

Additional Reporting by Sierra Fiore

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