The NFL’s wild card round is over and our attention will quickly turn to what is coming next weekend: a divisional round that will see four games, including the New England Patriots’ versus the Los Angeles Chargers. While the Patriots are coming off a first-round bye due to being the second seed in the AFC, the fifth-seeded Chargers went on the road yesterday to defeat number four Baltimore 23-17.
The upcoming game between the two teams projects to be a highly contested one, featuring two teams that rank in the top-10 in both points scored and points allowed. The opening line for this divisional round game between a Patriots team that went 11-5 in the regular season and the 12-4 Chargers — who tied the AFC’s best record through the first 16 games — reflects this.
According to the SB Nation Betting Guide, the Patriots open as 4.5-point favorites with the over/under being set at 47.5. Considering that New England is the NFL’s best home team and the Chargers have fared well this season on the road — going 8-1 including yesterday’s win — this comparatively close line sounds about right. It would not be a surprise if the game was decided by a field goal.
The other three divisional round matchups also see the home team favored, albeit by a bigger margin:
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 over the Indianapolis Colts (O/U: 57)
Los Angeles Rams -7 over the Dallas Cowboys (O/U: 49)
New Orleans Saints -9 over the Philadelphia Eagles (O/U: 51)
While the first two lines appear to properly reflect the strength differential between the two squads, it will be interesting to see how well the Saints will fare against an Eagles team that is again building considerable momentum in the postseason. Considering Philadelphia’s history and the team coming off a close victory over the NFL’s number one defense — the Chicago Bears — it would not be a surprise if the game was ultimately decided by fewer than nine points.
Welcome to Pats Pulpit Live: Wild Card Weekend Edition! Brian Phillips and guest Ryan Keiran break down the Chargers trip to Foxborough next weekendPosted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, January 6, 2019