Sunday Night Football Preview: Will the Patriots Bounce Back?
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers have won four straight December football games. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots haven't lost back to back games since 2012. One of these fantastic runs will come to an end on Sunday Night Football, as the Chargers host the Patriots in a battle of AFC Playoff hopefuls.
Rivers spearheaded a miraculous 34-33 victory at Baltimore in Week 13, leading the San Diego offense to three fourth-quarter touchdown drives and throwing two touchdown passes in the final four minutes. Rivers has performed admirably all season, and currently ranks sixth overall in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), our metric for determining how effective individual players are at helping their team score points. The Chargers passing game as a whole has been extremely efficient, ranking fifth overall in Adjusted Passing NEP per play, which take strength of schedule into account. Simply put, Rivers and the Chargers have had very little issue moving the ball via the air on their way to an 8-4 start.
Brady and the Patriots enter Week 14 off of a competitive but humbling loss at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Brady continues to strive after a really rough start, ranking fourth in Passing NEP among quarterbacks. He continues to focus the Patriot air attack around tight end Rob Gronkowski, who keeps flattening defenders on his way to a massive 94.88 Reception NEP, best among tight ends (by 25 points -- the largest margin between first and second at any position) and seventh-best among all players.
Using our advanced metrics, let's see how this AFC rivalry shakes out:
To read all premium content, upgrade to a Premium account with numberFire
If you're not a Premium subscriber, it takes just a few seconds to sign up. You'll get access to all of our insider information, game projections, handicapping advice, DFS tools, advanced statistics, and more.