The New England Patriots are entering Thursday’s game with the Los Angeles Rams having won four of their last five games. The last time these teams met was in 2019 during Super Bowl 53 when the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl in an ugly 13-3 victory. Despite playing 3,000 miles away in the new SoFi Stadium, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday’s game is “almost like having a home game.”
The New England Patriots are red hot
Coming into the season, the expectations for the New England Patriots weren’t very high. Gone was six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Eight players also opted to sit out the season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Patriots brought in former NFL MVP Cam Newton to run the show at quarterback. Newton earned the honor in 2015 when he guided the Carolina Panthers to a berth in the Super Bowl. Thirteen weeks into the season and the jury is still out on Newton. He does have 11 rushing touchdowns and 435 rushing yards, but he only has five touchdown passes and has been intercepted nine times.
The Patriots got off to a woeful 2-5 start, going winless in October. The Patriots have gone 4-1 in their last five games with their lone loss being by a field goal on the road at the Houston Texans. Last week, the Patriots trounced the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 in their best all-around effort of the season.
The Los Angeles Rams have struggled against the AFC East
The good news for the Los Angeles Rams is they still have the winless New York Jets on their schedule. The bad news is the New England Patriots are coming to town. The Rams have not fared well against teams in the AFC East this season, going 0-2.
After a 2-0 start, the Rams suffered their first loss of the season, falling in a shootout to the Buffalo Bills, 35-32. In Week 8, the Rams lost to the Miami Dolphins, another AFC East foe, in what was Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL debut. The Rams’ two other losses this season have come at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams are 8-4 and have won three of their last four games. Quarterback Jared Goff has been a turnover machine, getting intercepted twice in three of LA’s last five games. During that stretch, Goff has also fumbled five times, losing four of them.
Bill Belichick says this will be like a home game for the Patriots
How crazy is this? The New England Patriots are playing back-to-back games in the LA Rams’ home stadium while the Rams have yet to do so – and we’re in Week 14. A week ago, the Patriots played at the LA Chargers, who share SoFi Stadium with the Rams. After Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the Patriots elected to remain in Los Angeles, rather than fly home and return on a short week for Thursday’s game.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said the lack of travel, especially during a short week, is a huge help. “It’s almost like having a home game,” Belichick said, according to Boston.com.
The only negative with the short week, Belichick said, was there’s not a full week to prepare for a Rams team they hardly get to see. The Patriots played them in the Super Bowl in 2019 and they also met in Super Bowl 36 back in 2002. Between those games, they met just four times. Belichick was asked if he thought there might be any carryover from the Rams team they met in 2019. In typical Belichick fashion, he said, ““There’s some similarities, but plenty of differences, as well.”