By CBSBoston.com Staff

FOXBORO (CBS) — NFL cornerbacks are usually a fairly confident bunch. You kind of have to take that approach when your job is to stop some of the best playmakers in the world.

The Patriots defense certainly has a difficult matchup this weekend as they get set to face the Los Angeles Chargers. Slowing down the Bolts is no easy task, but New England corner J.C. Jackson is confident that the team is up to the challenge.

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Maybe a little too confident.

“I mean, it’s not really a big challenge,” Jackson said Thursday. “We just have to do what we do best. Play our football and trust each other.”

Bill Belichick is not going to like hearing his top corner giving some potential bulletin board material to this week’s opponent.

The New England secondary has been pretty good this season, but they’ve also allowed some big passing days. They allowed Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to torch them for 445 passing yards a few weeks ago, which happens. Dak is a great quarterback. But there was also that afternoon where Texans rookie Davis Mills threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots, which just shouldn’t happen against any secondary. And after losing Jonathan Jones for the rest of the season earlier this week, the job of the Patriots secondary is only going to get more difficult the rest of the way.

Then there is the fact that the Chargers are indeed a pretty difficult offense to go against, led by second-year quarterback Justin Herbert and his solid collection of pass-catchers. Herbert has 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions on the season, and has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,771 yards. He has Keenan Allen as his top target, with the wide out leading the offensive charge with 39 receptions, putting him on pace for a third straight 100-reception season.

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Jackson will probably see plenty of time on Allen on Sunday. He knows that, individually, the matchup will post a challenge.

“I respect that guy,” Jackson said of Allen, a four-time Pro Bowler. “He’s a great route-runner. He’s slick with it and he’s got hands.”

Herbert also has receiver Mike Williams at his disposal, who has 33 receptions and six touchdowns on the season. Add in tight end Jared Cook and Austin Ekeler (who did not practice on Thursday), and the Chargers have a pretty dangerous offensive attack.

Maybe Jackson’s confidence for this weekend comes from last year’s success against Herbert and the Chargers. Last December, the Patriots crushed the Chargers 45-0 at SoFi Stadium. Herbert, who was on his way to Rookie of the Year honors, threw a pair of interceptions and no touchdowns, as the Patriots held him to just 209 passing yards. It was easily New England’s best performance of the 2020 season.

Add in a confidence-boosting blowout of the Jets last weekend, and the Patriots are flying high heading into this weekend’s matchup in Los Angeles. Jackson made it abundantly clear on Thursday that he believes that all of that confidence will lead to a successful day for the New England secondary against the Chargers offense come Sunday.

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Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers game on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins at 11:30 am on Patriots GameDay, and kickoff is set for just after 4 pm. After the game, switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!

CBSBoston.com Staff