The 2018 NFL Playoffs continue today with a Sunday doubleheader. In the first game the Los Angeles Chargers make the long trip east for the second time in a week to take on the New England Patriots in the frosty environs of Foxboro.
The 13-4 Los Angeles Chargers come into today’s game with the best record in the AFC and the third best record in the NFL, yet they play their second straight playoff game on the road because they lost a tiebreaker for the AFC West title with the Kansas City Chiefs. That tiebreaker could prove devastating, as the Chargers now have to travel clear across the country for the second time in a little more than a week, this time to face the New England Patriots, a team almost unbeatable at home. The Chargers are a well balanced team with a top quarterback in Philip Rivers and offensive and defensive units both ranked in the top eight in the NFL in terms of points. The Chargers have won six of their last seven games, including last week’s win on the road against a red hot Baltimore Ravens team. On the road in Foxboro, in the difficult early time slot, a win today will be an uphill climb for the Chargers.
The 11-5 New England Patriots come into this game looking more vulnerable than they have in years. Tom Brady is finally beginning to show signs of age related decline. Rob Gronkowski is no longer the unstoppable force he once was; he has taken a terrible beating over the years and it is beginning to show. Josh Gordon is lost to yet another substance abuse suspension. The secondary is old and beginning to show it. These are not the nearly invincible Patriots we have gotten used to seeing. Losers of two of their last four games and three of their last seven, the Patriots limp into today’s game seemingly ripe for a downfall. Yet for all their uncharacteristic vulnerability, the Patriots still managed to put together an undefeated season at home, showing that, at least in the friendly confines of Foxboro, the Patriots are still a team to be reckoned with.
It’s the Chargers and the Patriots to kick off this Divisional Round Sunday.
Enjoy the game everybody.