Three of the four road teams won in the NFL Wild Card weekend. The Los Angeles Chargers, of course, were one of those teams. If there was any road team that should have won, the Chargers were the likely candidate.
They went 12-4 during the regular season. Many NFL observers thought the winner of the Chargers-Baltimore Ravens Wild Card game would have the inside track to the Super Bowl.
With the Ravens out of the way, it’s time for the Chargers to prove they are capable of winning two more playoff games and qualify for the Super Bowl for the second time in team history and the first time in 24 years.
Of course, the road is not easy. The Chargers travel to New England on Sunday to play the Patriots, who host playoff games as tradition. Remarkably, this will be the ninth straight season the Patriots will host NFL Divisional Playoff game. They haven’t lost in the game during this stretch since the 2010 Divisional round against the visiting New York Jets.
Here’s how NFL betting fans should approach this showdown.
The Patriots, who are good but vulnerable this season at 11-5, have a lot of history on their side. Quarterback Tom Brady is 7-0 against Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers, including two wins in the postseason. Both teams are relatively healthy this week in which should be another memorable playoff battle between the two.
I try to learn week-to-week. I thought Baltimore would win a close game over the Chargers. The Ravens stifled the Chargers on the road in Week 16. Yet, 15 days later, the Chargers were the dominant team on the road. Baltimore came back to make it close as the Chargers won, 23-17.
But Los Angeles controlled this game. The Chargers have lost just twice since Week 3. They are a hotter, sharper team than the Patriots at this time.
Yes, you must respect Brady and Bill Belichick’s incredible playoff history. New England is the home team and it knows how to win in this situation. Plus, the Chargers have a history of choking critical games. They let Baltimore back in Sunday’s game. Still, I keep going back to the fact that the Chargers are playing really strong football and the Patriots have been somewhat shaky.
Plus, the Chargers will get a boost in the form of standout tight end Hunter Henry. He has been activated for this game. It will be the first time he plays this season after tearing his ACL in May. The Chargers actually may be as healthy as they’ve been all season. This should be a very close game that is determined late.
The Chargers may have the best defense left in the postseason with Baltimore and the Chicago Bears out. The Chargers are strong defensive unit and would be a major threat to any of the elite offenses left in this tournament.
Baltimore had very little success for the majority of the game against the Chargers’ defense. Pass-rusher Melvin Ingram was dominant in the game. He will be a major challenge for Brady and friends. The Patriots’ offense is not as daunting as it has been in recent years.
This year, Brady is suffering from Josh Gordon’s suspension and the injury-fueled decline of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Four of the Chargers’ past five games have totaled 47 points or less with the last three games totaling 40, 32 and 40. The last three Patriots’ games have totaled 27, 36 and 41 points.
Expect more of the same Sunday with the weather in Foxboro expected to be clear but in the high 20s. Take the under with Karamba..
The Chargers will likely not go into this game intimidated despite the Patriots’ playoff history. The Chargers jumped out to a 12-0 lead in Baltimore and will be energized to take an early lead in this game. Remember, the Chargers are road warriors. The Chargers were 7-1 on the road, with their only loss coming to the Rams in L.A.
The Chargers also won in London this season and is unbeaten in early games. So, there’s no reason to think Los Angeles won’t come out firing. Take the Chargers at the strong price of +155 with Betfair.
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