The Los Angeles Chargers have been largely unimpressive on the ground this season, but the Patriots are going to have a hard time ensuring it stays that way.

With linebacker Dont’a Hightower (torn pectoral) done for the season and defensive tackle Malcom Brown (ankle) set to miss his first career game, the Patriots will be without two of their best run stoppers in the middle of their defense today.

“We all go out there making sure we want to do our best,” defensive tackle Alan Branch said. “We don’t want to let the team down. We’ve got a big gap to fill with Malcom not being in there and whatnot. We’ve just got to play ball.”

On the flip side, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is one of the league’s more talented rushers, but has had a marginal start to the season with 394 yards, 3.4 yards per carry and three touchdowns. Gordon has been a threat through the air with 29 catches for 228 yards and four touchdowns, which will be a significant issue without Hightower in the second level.

But between the tackles, Gordon has fallen well short of his pace from 2016, when he had 997 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. The Chargers are ranked 30th in rushing offense this season, as they’ve averaged 79.1 yards per game and have eclipsed 100 yards just twice.