By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots finally know who's coming to Foxborough. The Los Angeles Chargers will face the Patriots at Gillette Stadium next Sunday in the AFC Divisional Playoff after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the Wild Card round. The game takes place Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn't have a big day, completing 22-of-32 passes for 160 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions in a rock-fight win over the Ravens that featured six field goals and 11 punts between the two teams. The Los Angeles defense stymied Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense for the majority of the afternoon.
Jackson finished 14-for-29 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Despite two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Jackson ultimately fumbled with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Chargers.
Linebacker Melvin Ingram, sure to be a focal point of the Patriots' preparation on the offensive line, wreaked havoc in the Ravens backfield all day. He finished with two sacks, a forced fumble and recovery, and two QB hits to go with seven total tackles, including two for a loss.
The last time the Chargers played the Patriots was last season, when L.A. lost 21-13 at Gillette. Tom Brady is 6-2 against the Chargers, and 2-0 in the postseason. Rivers has one career win against the Patriots, and it came in the 2008 season with Matt Cassel starting in place of the injured Brady. If the Chargers can't beat the Patriots next Sunday, Rivers will become the first quarterback to lose to Brady's Patriots three times in the playoffs.
Be prepared to hear a lot about the last time the two teams met in the divisional round, the Patriots' famously improbable 24-21 win over the top-seeded Chargers in the 2006 season.
Something's got to give in this matchup based on the teams' home and road records. The Patriots were the only NFL team to go 8-0 at home in the 2018 regular season. The Chargers, meanwhile, tied with the New Orleans Saints for the league's best road record at 7-1.
And now, we hype.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].