Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
January 13, 2019, at 1:05 PM EST (Gillette Stadium)
Line: Over/Under 47
Free ESPN NFL Pick New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers
After thoroughly handling the Baltimore Ravens, the Los Angeles Chargers have the fortune of heading to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the AFC. The weather in New England is set to be the exact opposite of Los Angeles. We’re looking at 43 degrees, and potential for some cold rain.
New England Patriots
I’m not going to hold back in this one. I strongly dislike the New England Patriots. I still cannot believe that they secured a first-round bye. They infuriate me beyond belief. Here they are again, hosting a playoff game. It’s going to be hard to bet against them as they characteristically defeat the Chargers in these matchups in the playoffs. But this is not your normal Patriots team. They didn’t win 12 games this year, just 11, but their losses made them look more pedestrian than usual. Dropping games to the Lions, the Titans (both coached by Bill Belichick disciples), the Dolphins, the Steelers, and the Jaguars. The combined record of these teams was 36-43-1. This proves two things. One, the Patriots can be beaten this year. Secondly, they can hang with some of the best teams as well (victories over the Chiefs, Bears, Colts, and Texans who were all in the playoffs.)
The Patriots look more pedestrian this year because of sloppy play from the passing game. Father time seems to have caught up with Tom Brady. Fingers crossed he continues being bad in the playoffs. Rob Gronkowski also looks like a shell of himself, Julian Edelman looks scared to go over the middle, and there aren’t many more options outside of them. Josh Gordon would’ve been nice to have for this game.
However, they are still the Patriots and this whole season could’ve been a ruse until they become unstoppable again.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers need to win this game. They are simply better than the Patriots. The Chargers played one of the most complete seasons in the NFL. They won 12 games and had to settle for a wild-card spot. They defeated the Chiefs in one of their two matchups and only dropped their other games to the Rams, Broncos, and Ravens. The Chargers then went on to beat the Ravens last week, playing an away game despite being two games better than the Ravens. Last week they put on a clinic against the Ravens despite a bad game from the Rivers. I don’t know if there are any teams in the history of sports who have two stars with the first name Melvin. But, both Melvins (Gordon and Ingram) played well for the Chargers. They made Lamar Jackson look like a rookie, causing him to fumble on four sperate occasions. Ingram, and Derwin James were all over the field for Chargers, showing that they can get it done on both sides of the ball.
The Chargers also have a reliable kicker for the first time in their franchise history. Michael Badgley can actually make big kicks for a team that was plagued for missing huge kicks in the past. The Chargers well-balanced offense and defense, are going to have to show up in order to bounce the Patriots out on Sunday.
New England Patriots
The Under hit on 11 of the Patriots 16 games
The Under hit on 6 out of 8 games when the Patriots played at home
The Under hit on 9 out of 11 when the Patriots played on turf (Gillette Stadium is turf)
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are 7-1 ATS on the road this season
The Over/Under split 8-8 this season for the Chargers
The Over hit 5 out of 8 times on the road for the Chargers this season
ESPN NFL SCORES Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots
The Los Angeles Chargers are controlling a lot of the money so far. Over 60% of the population is betting on the Chargers to cover the +4. This normally would be a good bet when you just look at the records, but the Patriots absolutely own the Chargers. Phillip Rivers has never beaten Tom Brady during their extensive careers. His lone victory was against Matt Cassel. This season could pose a different outcome. The Patriots are perfect at home at 8-0, the Chargers are 8-1 on the road. Belichick is going to prepare as he always does, which is better than any coach in history. The Chargers are the better team though, they can get after Brady and have a difference maker at Quarterback. the Chargers win this game, but both teams will score a bunch.
Pick: Over 47