BOSTON (CBS) — The Los Angeles Chargers are coming to Foxboro.
The Patriots will square off against the quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers in next weekend’s AFC Divisional round, after Los Angeles beat the four-seeded Ravens in Baltimore in Sunday’s Wild Card round. Los Angeles stifled the Ravens offense all day and held on for a 23-17 win.
Los Angeles was 12-4 during the regular season but settled for a Wild Card berth, with the 12-4 Chiefs claiming the AFC West crown and the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed.
Playing away from L.A. has not been an issue for the Chargers, with Sunday’s win in Baltimore giving them an impressive 8-1 record on the road this season. Led by Rivers, who threw for over 4,300 yards and 32 touchdowns in the regular season, Los Angeles boasted the six-best scoring offense at 26.8 points per game. Keenan Allen is a legit No. 1 threat in the passing game and finished with nearly 1,200 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Mike Williams was a solid No. 2 with 10 touchdown receptions and 664 yards, while Tyrell Williams caught 41 passes for 653 yards and five touchdowns.
The Chargers also have a talented runner out of the backfield in Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 12 games. He averaged a career-high 5.1 yards per carry this season, good for eighth-best in the NFL. Gordon also added 50 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns.
Anthony Lynn’s defense is pretty good, too, allowing just 20.6 points per game (good for eighth) and 333.7 yards per contest (ninth). They rank ninth overall against both the run and the pass, and though they don’t force many turnovers (just 20 in the regular season), Los Angeles has a hard-hitting defense that makes their opposition earn every year. Defensive end Melvin Ingram was the playmaker of the unit with a team-high seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses, rounding out his impressive stat sheet with an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Now Rivers, Lynn and company square off against a team that hasn’t been too friendly to the Chargers. Rivers is just 1-7 in his career against the Patriots, including a pair of postseason losses.
But those playoff wins over Rivers and the Chargers were from yesteryear, back when they called San Diego their home. The Patriots won in San Diego in the 2006 AFC Divisional Round, a game the Chargers would have won had Marlon McCree simply went to the ground after picking Tom Brady off in the fourth quarter; instead McCree ran around with the ball like a doofus and promptly fumbled it back to New England, setting up another Brady-led comeback for the Patriots.
The Chargers again put up a fight when they met the Patriots in the 2007 AFC Championship Game in Foxboro. New England’s high-powered offense was held to just 21 points that day but came out victorious, 21-12, to improve to 18-0 on the season. There are only three players remaining on either from that 2008 AFC Championship game: Brady, Rivers and New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
The Patriots have won seven consecutive home divisional playoff games, dating back to the 2011 season. They have not lost a home divisional game since the 2010 playoffs against the Jets, and they’re 11-1 overall at home in the divisional round during the Patriots careers of Brady and Belichick.
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