The New England Patriots begin their quest to return to the Super Bowl this afternoon when the Los Angeles Chargers come to town for an AFC Divisional Round matchup. Although they had a worse record than their upcoming opponent at 11-5, the Patriots earned the right to host this game—as well as a first-round bye—by winning the AFC East. The Chargers were forced to participate in the Wild Card, where they bested the Baltimore Ravens, after placing second in the AFC West despite finishing the campaign with a superior 12-4 record. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks in this 2019 NFL Playoffs contest, as it will feature two future Hall of Famers in New England’s Tom Brady and Los Angeles’ Philip Rivers. These stars have met twice prior in the postseason, with Brady getting the best of Rivers in both of those bouts.
The Patriots are the smallest favorite of the Divisional Round, opening as four-point chalk over the Chargers. New England didn’t have as strong of a campaign as fans have become accustomed to, which is mostly due to their poor performances on the road, where they scored just 21.6 points per game on average. They did play excellent in their own digs, however, winning every single game played at Gillette Stadium and becoming the only team to finish undefeated at home in 2018. They did this by scoring an average of 32.9 points in those contests, over 10 points per game more than they put up on the road. The Pats also have a strong track record in the playoffs at this venue, having won eight games in a row at Gillette dating back to 2012, when they lost to the Ravens in an AFC Divisional contest. That was the most recent of only three total home postseason losses for the Pats during Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. New England has gone an outstanding 19-3 at Foxborough since the start of the 2001 playoffs and have a good chance to extend that record to 20-3 with a victory this afternoon. The Chargers are no clearly stranger to the home prowess of the Patriots—the club is just 1-5 at Gillette with Philip Rivers under center—having lost the aforementioned pair of postseason battles back in 2006 and 2007. While the signal-callers remain the same, both organizations have changed drastically in the decade-plus since those clashes. This year’s Bolts squad is especially adept on the road, going an impressive 8-1 in games played away from Los Angeles. Their defense has been especially fantastic at quieting crowds, allowing a mere 19.8 points per away game.
Will the Pats continue their dominance over the Bolts—Brady is 7-0 all-time against Rivers—with a big win on Sunday, or will the Chargers finally find a way to upset this nemesis? Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has a take on the outcome that you will not want to miss. Before seeing who the Vegas expert has advancing to the AFC Championship Game to meet the Kansas City Chiefs, take a look at the full schedule, TV viewing info, kickoff start time and updated odds for this Patriots-Chargers clash. You can also find relevant betting trends, quotes, tweets and more related to the final AFC Divisional Round matchup of the 2019 NFL Playoffs.
2019 NFL Playoffs Schedule And Odds
|Saturday, January 12|
|No. 1 AFC vs. No. 6 AFC||Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts||4:35 p.m.||NBC||KC -5.5|
|No. 2 NFC vs. No. 4 NFC||Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys||8:15 p.m.||FOX||LAR -7|
|Sunday, January 13|
|No. 2 AFC vs. No. 5 AFC||New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers||1:05 p.m.||CBS||NE -4|
|No. 1 NFC vs. No. 6 NFC||New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles||4:40 p.m.||FOX||NO -7.5|
NFL Playoff odds, trends and facts courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook
2019 AFC Divisional Preview: No. 2 New England Patriots (11-5) Vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (13-4)
Patriots Vs. Chargers Betting Trends
- The Patriots are 8-0 straight-up and 6-2 against the spread in their last eight home playoff games.
- The Chargers are 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine road games against New England.
- The total has gone UNDER in five of the last six games between these teams.
- Los Angeles is 5-1 SU and ATS as an underdog in 2018.
- New England is 31-3 SU and 19-13-2 since 2003 when Tom Brady starts a game following a week or more of rest.
Patriots Vs. Chargers Head-to-Head Results (Since 2007)
|Jan 14, 2007||NE 24 – SDC 21|
|Sep 16, 2007||NE 38 – SDC 14|
|Jan 20, 2008||NE 21 – SDC 12|
|Oct 12, 2008||SDC 30 – NE 10|
|Oct 24, 2010||NE 23 – SDC 20|
|Sep 18, 2011||NE 35 – SDC 21|
|Dec 7, 2014||NE 23 – SDC 14|
|Oct 29, 2017||NE 21 – LAC 13|
Patriots Vs. Chargers Quotes
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick heaped praise upon Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (via Chargers.com):
He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a good arm. He sees the field well. He’s got a very good ability to see the coverage, see the entire field, find the matchups and get the ball where he wants to get it to. If the defense takes something away, he quickly can get his eyes to what the next progression is and make good, quick, decisive decisions. I’ve always been impressed with that…There are a lot of great players. He’s certainly one of them. He’s had a tremendous career, great longevity, durability, consistency. Again, he’s played with a lot of players and been able to utilize them. I think that speaks to his effectiveness. He’s been in several different systems and he’s been able to be productive in all of those, so it speaks a lot to his talent and his versatility.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn isn’t worried about his team’s impending foe and instead wants his players to concentrate on executing the game plan (via ESPN):
This week is about us and our preparation and how we get ready, because they do not beat themselves. We can’t beat ourselves. It’s going to come down to execution and execution only. They’re very good at finding your weaknesses and exploiting that. They’re one of the best I’ve ever been around in doing that. I respect that a lot. We definitely can’t make mistakes. That team does not beat themselves, and I respect that about their organization. That’s been taught, that’s been trained — that’s a skill, an advantage they’ve had for a long time. So we focus on ourselves.
Tom Brady spoke about how the weather impacts New England’s preparation for the AFC Divisional Round (via Yahoo! Sports):
I just think the ability to practice in it, Like today, it’s very similar to what we’re going to get on Sunday, so just knowing how many layers you have to put on, and kind of how you’re going to feel when you have the nice, warm, heated benches out there like we will on Sunday. It’s cold and that’s just this part of this time of year. But it’s good to be playing when it’s cold out, it’s good to be playing this time of year in Foxborough. The weather changed a little bit yesterday,. It snowed at the start, then got sunny, then got cloudy, then got windy, then got sunny and it was just a bunch of different things. Just to practice in it, we’re prepared for it, and hopefully we can use some of the things that we’ve learned to our advantage ‘It’s a good time of year. I think everyone’s excited to be out there. It’s just a great environment of football.
Philip Rivers recalled the time that Bill Belichick coached him in the Pro Bowl (via the Boston Herald):
At halftime of the Pro Bowl game, we were getting killed. It was me and Peyton (Manning) and (Matt) Cassel. We were getting blown out at halftime, and he kind of called us all up and said, ‘Hey, we can tackle? I know it’s the Pro Bowl and all that, but can we tackle somebody today? Let’s just go out and see if we can make this a little bit respectable in the second half.’ And then he looked over at us quarterbacks, and we had all thrown an interception. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one. And he said, ‘It would help if you guys would stop throwing it to the other team.’ I got a kick out of that. … I thought that was pretty good. I got fussed out at halftime of the Pro Bowl. “At halftime of the Pro Bowl game, we were getting killed,” Rivers said. “It was me and Peyton (Manning) and (Matt) Cassel. We were getting blown out at halftime, and he kind of called us all up and said, ‘Hey, we can tackle? I know it’s the Pro Bowl and all that, but can we tackle somebody today? Let’s just go out and see if we can make this a little bit respectable in the second half.’ And then he looked over at us quarterbacks, and we had all thrown an interception. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one. And he said, ‘It would help if you guys would stop throwing it to the other team.’ I got a kick out of that. … I thought that was pretty good. I got fussed out at halftime of the Pro Bowl.
Patriots Vs. Chargers Tweets
ProFootballFocus highlighted the stakes between these powerhouse programs:
Chargers away from L.A. this year: 9-0.
Patriots at home this year: 8-0.
Tom Brady vs. Philip Rivers all time: 7-0.
Something’s gotta give https://t.co/df0Q8hHxja
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 9, 2019
Jeff Howe noted that there is snow on the weather forecast for this contest:
As the Patriots welcome the Chargers to Foxboro on Sunday, the forecast calls for 3 to 5 inches of snow and a high of 30 degrees.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) January 7, 2019
Albert Breer posted a humorous clip of Bill Belichick answering a question on if the weather is an advantage for New England:
Will temps in the 20s be an advantage for the Patriots against a team from Los Angeles? pic.twitter.com/GMIyvWJQK0
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 11, 2019
NFL Research found that every other team to win at least nine games away from their home stadium in a season—as the Chargers have done this year—won the Super Bowl:
The ’16 Patriots, ’07 Giants, ’05 Steelers, ’00 Ravens, ’89 & ’84 49ers & ’72 Dolphins
Only teams in the SB era to win 9+ games outside of their home stadium (incl. playoffs)
They all won the Super Bowl
The 2018 @Chargers have also 9+ games outside of their home stadium
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 9, 2019
Adam Schefter reported that the Chargers tinkered with their special teams unit ahead of their Divisional Round showdown:
Interesting move for the week of a Divisional Playoff game: the Chargers are signing kicker Nick Rose to their active roster today to handle kickoff duties Sunday vs the New England Patriots, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 10, 2019
OddsShark reported that the Chiefs will be favored in the 2019 AFC Championship Game against whichever squad wins this game:
AFC Championship game look ahead lines (@betonline_ag):
Patriots @ Chiefs -4
Chargers @ Chiefs -4.5
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) January 13, 2019
Colin Cowherd is predicting that New England advances to the next round of the 2019 NFL Playoffs:
“New England is 97-8 at home when they score first… The West Coast team traveling out East again will be a little unsettled initially. New England jumps on them early then holds them off.”@ColinCowherd tells you exactly how Chargers-Patriots will unfold pic.twitter.com/8PxEKcYY5Z
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 10, 2019
Patriots Vs. Chargers Pro Prediction
Price’s Take: “These teams have been almost equal in terms of scoring offense and defense in 2018, with New England averaging 27.3 points compared to Los Angeles at 26.8 points and conceding 20.3 points against 20.6. But one area where New England finds itself a head and shoulders above its upcoming opponent is in regards to turnovers. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have consistently been able to avoid making mistakes and causing their foes to commit them, which shows up in their plus-10 turnover differential this season. The Pats finished fifth in the league in that department, while the Chargers ranked T-15 with a plus-one margin. In a game that projects to be razor-thin in the margins, a single turnover could make all the difference. It wouldn’t be much of a shock to see the Patriots create and capitalize on that, giving them their ninth-straight Divisional round victory and yet another trip to the AFC Championship.”
Pick: Patriots -4
Prediction: Patriots 28 – Chargers 23
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News