Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers get ready for an old face they haven’t quite figured out in the playoffs. The Chargers will meet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots next week for an AFC Divisional Round playoff game in Foxborough.
The Chargers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 on wild-card weekend after completely shutting down Lamar Jackson and his ability to run in the first half, building a two-score lead. In a surprising move, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh remained with Jackson, even into the fourth quarter after the Chargers, controversially, went up 20-3 to what ultimately proved to seal the victory. Los Angeles will see a much more seasoned quarterback next week.
Chargers vs. Patriots Betting Line
On first glance, the line seems a bit high for the Patriots. Expect enough bets on the Chargers to potentially shift the line closer to -4 or even -3.5 before the game starts.
Los Angeles — then San Diego — is 0-2 in the postseason against Brady, Bill Belichick and New England with Rivers under center. Both losses came back in 2006 and 2007; in 2006, Rivers and the Chargers, led by head coach Marty Schottenheimer, finished the regular season 14-2 before dropping a game in this same round. Then in 2007, the Chargers reached the AFC Championship Game only to fall to the undefeated Patriots as Rivers played on a partially torn ACL.
The Chargers moved to +700 to win the Super Bowl following their win against the Ravens.
The Chargers have posted very few, if any stinkers this season. Some underwhelming games, but each one has been heavily contested well into the fourth quarter save for an early-season date with the Los Angeles Rams. The Patriots slowed down a bit this season, and even though they won 11 games, losses to Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, and a late-season, last-second loss to Miami have people questioning the depth and age of the Patriots core group of players.
This game will, likely, be a much more balanced game than most think. Melvin Gordon has established himself as one of the NFL’s five best running backs over the past two seasons, and Patriots first-round pick Sony Michel has heavily factored into the gameplan when healthy, proving to be a difference-maker on offense. New England gets the added benefit of having the bye week, but a bruising team like the Chargers that can adequately — putting it loosely — defend the run with a potentially elite pass rush with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, can do the things that New England has relatively struggled with for years.
In the end, the Patriots will play well on their home field. Brady and Gronk get on the board and Michel finds the end zone, but the Chargers eradicate some demons and put together consecutive playoff wins for the first time in several presidential administrations.
Early Prediction: Chargers 27, Patriots 24