Patriots-Chargers Divisional Game Will Be One for the Ages - And Not Just Because Brady & Rivers Are the Oldest Playoffs QB-Combo Ever
Posted by: Gronkowski
After a rollercoaster weekend of playoff action that really put the “wild” in Wild Card Weekend, we now have the divisional round set. By now you should know that the Patriots host the L.A. Chargers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in the AFC Divisional Game.
So far, the Pats are unbeaten at home … but the Chargers are unbeaten on the road, and are coming off a tough 23-17 win against the Ravens in Baltimore. Having crossed the country twice in a week, the SoCal team is going to be facing real football weather Sunday with temperatures around 30 degrees and the chance of snow.
The last time Philip Rivers and co. came to Gillette was on Oct. 29, 2017, when the Pats beat them a definitive 21-13. But that was a very different Chargers team, who were then suffering serious discombobulation after moving from San Diego to Los Angeles during the prior offseason.
Now settled in their temporary home at the StubHub Center in Carson just south of Los Angeles until their shiny new stadium shared with the Rams opens, they’ve looked reenergized and revived this season – boasting a bunch of impressive wins including over the Chiefs, Broncos and Seahawks. Last weekend, they made Ravens head coach John Harbaugh second guess sitting out Joe Flacco in favor of rookie QB Lamar Jackson.
The Chargers win made Tom Brady lose sleep Sunday night – no, NOT out of anxiety but because he was studying film.
“After that game ended, I was up watching film all night,” Brady WEEI on his Monday morning call. “That’s the way it is. This is the biggest week of the year for me; everything is focused on what we need to do.
“You can’t watch enough film on weeks like this. You can’t get enough rest. You can’t get enough treatment, get enough training or get enough practice. It’s all about what we have to do to be at our best for the biggest three hours of the season when that ball kicks off,” the G.O.A.T. said.
“I feel like I’m just really focused and I feel like I really can hone in on what I need to do,” he continue, according to ESPN. “Maybe that’s part of why I’m still playing at this point and part of why I’ve been able to do that. It just comes very naturally to me, without me having to think.
“Certainly there are things that don’t come naturally to me that I’ve had to work hard at. This is something that I really don’t have to think about much. It just naturally happens. The focus and the emotion really sharpens, tightens up. And I get to a place mentally where I need to be.”
At 41, Brady is heading into his 38th playoff game. However, 37-year-old Rivers is an eight-time Pro Bowler and its hardly his first time at the rodeo. With a combined age of 78, the pair oldest are the oldest two starting quarterbacks to play ever each other in an NFL postseason game.
But what the Patriots and the fans really should be worried about is the Chargers defense, which sacked Jackson seven times in Baltimore thanks to the combined forces of Melvin Ingram, Justin Jones and Joey Bosa. L.A.’s kicker Michael Badgley also earned his stripes in his first playoff game by drilling in five field goals (yes, that’s how you do it Cody Parkey!).
Of course, Jackson is no Brady and he wasn’t backed up by the brilliance of Belichick.
The Chargers haven’t faced the Pats in the playoffs since the AFC title game in January 2008, when Rivers infamously played on a torn ACL and ended up losing 21-12 despite his valiant effort. And as we all can never be allowed to forget, the Pats’ perfect season was then ruined by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Fortunately that is definitely not happening this year!
Whoever wins this one will play the winner of the Chiefs-Colts game, which kicks on at 4:25 p.m. ET on Saturday.
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