Logo for the NFL Playoffs. Photo from Wikimedia.
The New England Patriots are heading into the NFL Divisional Round on January 13th, 2019. They face the Los Angeles Chargers, who won the wild card round in order to secure a spot in the Divisional Round of the playoffs after coming in second in the AFC West with a record of (12-4). The playoff spots were determined by placing the four division champions in both the AFC and NFC into the spots and then selecting two wild-card qualifiers from each conference (the two remaining teams with the best overall records in each conference).
The Patriots (11-5), secured the number two seed in the conference along with a first-round bye after pulling off a dominant win over the New York Jets (4-12), 38-3. Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, threw three first-half touchdowns. Pats lineman, Kyle Van Noy, scored a 46-yard touchdown after picking up a fumbled ball. Pats wide receiver, Julian Edelman, added to the score with a 6-yard touchdown catch The Pats finished the regular season undefeated at home, and in turn.
The Pats also ended the season with a relatively poor record of (3-5) on the road, but were the only team in the league with an undefeated home record (8-0). The Pats lost both their last away games to the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they were able to bounce back after two straight losses and pull off two straight wins against the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets respectively.
A divisional playoff game in New England isn’t new to the Chargers. History is on New England’s side as Chargers quarterback, Philip Rivers, is 0-7 in his career against Tom Brady, including two playoff losses in 2006 and 2007. Although, Rivers is looking is looking to make up for those losses and finally come out victorious against Brady and the Pats. The Chargers bring one of the NFL’s best rosters into town, with an explosive offense complemented by one of the league's premium pass-rush featuring Joey Bosa and Melvin Gordon off the edge.
With New England having a strong hometown offense, and the Chargers having an incredible team this season, only time will tell who will advance into the AFC Conference FInals and who will be going home.