Boomer Esiason tells M&C Chargers are toughest opponent for Patriots

Alex Reimer
January 07, 2019 - 9:57 am

Count Boomer Esiason among those who think the Chargers will give the Patriots an uncharacteristic scare in the Divisional Round.

In his weekly interview Monday with “Mut & Callahan,” Esiason said he expects Los Angeles to challenge New England at Gillette, despite the Patriots’ historic success at home in the playoffs. The Chargers are 8-1 on the road this season, speaking to their resiliency, and probably the fact they don’t have a true home themselves. 

“I don’t think the (Chargers) will melt; I actually think this is going to be a really good game,” Esiason said. “This will be a high scoring game. In the fourth quarter, the game will be hanging in the balance. Everybody is going to be nervous. It may come down to one of the field goal kickers, but I think both quarterbacks should be able to put up some pretty decent numbers.”

Though the Ravens were able to contain Philip Rivers for most of the contest, Esiason says he thinks the Chargers’ playmakers will be able to put up some points against the Patriots, who are largely bereft of difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball –– especially in the front seven.

“I’m not overly impressed with the Patriots’ defense in the sense that they’re going to put pressure on you like the Baltimore defense or Chargers defense,” Esiason explained. “It’s more of a scheme-type of feel. They’re 30th in sacks. It’s going to be a totally different feel for Philip Rivers. Yesterday –– and Tom Brady would probably echo this sentiment –– when you play in Baltimore against a defense that’s that active and does that many things on the line of scrimmage … you’ve got to be at the top of your game. That’s why it was a little bit of a struggle yesterday for the Chargers. I don’t know if they’ll have that type of struggle against the Patriots in Gillette, because that’s not what that defense is.”

But Esiason says he believes the Patriots will get their points as well, because Tom Brady will be able to pick apart the Chargers’ defense with quick and precise passes. And if Los Angeles sells out for the pass, the Patriots should be able to run the ball effectively. 

The Ravens, meanwhile, put forth a pathetic offensive performance Sunday.

“(The Ravens’) passing game might be the worst in football,” Esiason said. “Now you’re going against a precision-type passing game. Tom will spread everybody out and he’ll get rid of the football really quickly. They’ll try to identify an advantage in the secondary. Quite frankly, it’s a totally different type of game. You can play with seven defensive backs on the field to try to stop Lamar Jackson, because he’s so fast. Now, I don't think you can do that. You can't play defensive like that against the Patriots, because they’ll jam Sony Michel right down your throat and it will be a totally different type of dynamic.”

But for the Patriots to be effective offensively, they must have time. Esiason says their ability to contain Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa up front will be the key to victory. 

“The pressure for me is on the offensive tackles for the Patriots. If I were Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick for that matter, I would think about how well my two tackles will play in this game against two outstanding pass-rushers."