The Patriots Will Host the Chargers on Sunday; Melo Minds Sports
Foxborough, MA - The further along Sunday's Wild Card match-up between the Baltimore Ravens and the Los Angeles Chargers went, the worse I felt about my prediction that the New England Patriots would most like to avoid the Ravens. With an abysmal showing from Lamar Jackson in the game, the Ravens looked utterly inept, and I found myself suddenly wishing the Patriots could match up with them in the next round. After all, when the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Houston Texans, it was guaranteed that the Patriots would face the winner of the Ravens versus Chargers game. Alas, the Chargers still managed to pull out the victory over Baltimore to give the two teams their first playoff game against one another in eleven years.
And yet, the quarterbacks are still the same. Eleven years after the Patriots defeated the Jaguars and the Chargers en route to the Super Bowl when they lost their perfect season, the Patriots and Chargers will square off against one another with the latter having since moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. And while the rosters are almost completely different, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are still leading their respective squads.
This year, the Chargers stack up much more evenly against the Patriots. As evidenced by their drubbing of the Ravens, the rushing defense of Los Angeles has a strong advantage over that of New England's. I would give the edge in pass defense to New England, but overall, Los Angeles has a much stronger defensive unit, which could spell trouble for Brady and his lack of weapons around him. Take away the running game and suddenly Brady is relying on a fallible Julian Edelman and a broken Rob Gronkowski. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has the much better running back in Melvin Gordon and the much better lead receiver in Keenan Allen. With Rivers playing for his legacy, the Patriots are going to have their work cut out for them in a game that will be anything but easy.
But above it all, I still believe in Tom Brady. It's going to be close, but I can't help but give the edge to the Patriots, who just happen to be the only team that is undefeated at home this season.