AFC Divisional Game Two LA Chargers @ New England Patriots AFC East v AFC West
Tonight’s game is the third postseason meeting between these two sides and also the third time that Phillip Rivers & Tom Brady – two Hall of Fame destined QBs have been at the helm. If history is anything to go by New England will be heading for the Championship with Tom Brady being 7-0 in all meetings between him and Rivers, but the Patriots have not looked the team of old this year and maybe this season things will be different.
The two previous postseason meetings came in consecutive seasons 2006 & 2007 and the first of these was a near classic.
2006 AFC Divisional game Patriots 24-21.
The then San Diego Chargers were the no 1 seeds and with a 14-2 record looked every bit Superbowl winners with a bevvy of Pro Bowlers and MVP LaDainian Thomlinson in the squad. However, some strange play calling including eschewing a 47-yard field goal attempt to go for it on 4th & 11, and giving up four turnovers were too much for them. Despite the Chargers leading 21-13 with 8:35 left Tom Brady managed to stage a thrilling comeback, cumulating with what turned out to be the winning field goal with just over a minute left. Even then there was time for the Chargers to miss a potentially tying long field goal with 3 seconds left. If you ever get the chance to watch this game as it had virtually everything – except Patriots rushing yards as they only managed 51!
2007 AFC Conference Championship Patriots 21-12.
This game will best be remembered for the Patriots becoming the first team to reach 18-0 in a season, and despite Tom Brady being rather generous in tossing three interceptions the Chargers after taking an early lead never looked threatening and only managed 4 field goals all night. New England would go on to lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl to the NY Giants.
The Chargers finished within a whisker of being the No 1 seed missing out thanks to divisional wins record and their 12-4 finish was their best since their 13-3 season in 2009. However, when you look at who they played it was not as impressive Only two wins came against playoff-bound teams and they lost to fellow playoff contenders the Chiefs, LA Rams & Ravens. They did get revenge against the Ravens in the Wild Card Round however made quite hard work of it in the end. Having said that they were 7-1 on the road.
New England managed to beat four playoff teams, however, their losses were not great including defeats against Jacksonville & Detroit, both of whom will be picking in the top ten of this year’s draft. In reflection finishing 11-5 with their schedule was pretty good and they did manage to beat the Chiefs, who will await the winner.
Overall it is hard to pick a winner here and this is reflected n the 3.5 point spread (NE favourites). It is never wise to bet against the Patriots especially at home, and we think that they will edge this one leaving Philip Rivers still awaiting his first win against Tom Brady.
Score prediction New England 28 LA Chargers 21