NFL Playoffs: Predicting the AFC Divisional Round Sans Broncos

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Case Keenum #4 of the Denver Broncos and quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shake hands after a 27-23 Chiefs win at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on October 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Case Keenum #4 of the Denver Broncos and quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shake hands after a 27-23 Chiefs win at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on October 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots has a word with outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos after a 41-16 Patriots win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Matt Geving

Playoff football in New England is usually a guaranteed win for the Patriots. However, if any team can go in and win, it’s the Los Angeles Chargers.

The battle of Tom Brady and Philip Rivers will be a close one. This is the best and most complete team Philip Rivers has ever had. Even so, the Patriots will get off to a fast start.

Tom Brady will find Julian Edelman for an easy touchdown to start the game. Philip Rivers will throw an interception, and New England will seamlessly be up 10-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. Los Angeles will adjust and apply more pressure on Tom Brady.

Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa will each get a sack in the 2nd quarter. Meanwhile, Rivers will rely heavily on Melvin Gordon. Gordon will have one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown, and the Chargers will be up 14-13 at halftime.

The third quarter will become a track meet. Both Brady and Rivers will throw 2 touchdowns (New England will fail on a 2 point conversion attempt) and it will be 28-26 going into the 4th quarter.

Both defenses will buckle down and apply more pressure. Derwin James will pick off Tom Brady to set up a Chargers field goal. On the following drive, Tom Brady will come out slinging. He will finish off the drive with a touchdown (and 2 point conversion).

Two minutes to go, Philip Rivers will get the ball down 34-31. He will get two first downs before throwing the season ending interception.

Patriots 34, Chargers 31

Kyla Antoinette 

The game is at Foxborough, Patriots offense is in the top 5, and they’re defense is top 7, but this is where I’ll say my favorite saying: numbers can be deceiving.

Even though they topped out of the top ten on both sides of the ball they were 21st in yards allowed, and they placed 22nd in passing.

Gronk is not 100%, and Edelman hasn’t been the same since his suspension. Philip Rivers was a better quarterback this season when compared to Brady, and he has a lot more consistent weapons than Brady this year.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers are 9-1 on the road, so being in Foxborough won’t be a challenge like it has been so many times.

Let’s not forget that Rivers doesn’t want to be the Dan Marino of his time, and this year’s team is stacked enough to win the Super Bowl.

This playoff game will be even more emotionally charged. They’ll be playing in the honor of their teammate Brandon Mebane, who tragically lost his 7-week old baby daughter to a heart condition a few days ago, and will be playing in this game despite his family’s loss also, to honor his baby girl.

This game goes to the Chargers.

Chargers 31, Patriots 17

Ty Walden

This is going to be a very intriguing game. Having the Chargers go into Foxboro to face the AFC powerhouse New England Patriots will be a doozy. Brady vs. Rivers. Two quarterbacks that Broncos fans can’t stand. It is such a toss up in my opinion.

Next. Broncos and Gary Kubiak going separate ways. dark

For me, it is who I dislike the least that could influence my decision. In this case, I believe the Chargers have what it takes to be competitive with the Patriots. New England are not what they used to be. Yes, they finished the season 11-5, but shocking enough, the Chargers finished the season with a better record than the Patriots.

Only problem is that the Chargers had the Chiefs in their division and they won the tiebreaker. Either way, the Patriots might have to get through two AFC West teams to get into the postseason.

However, I believe Rivers has a great game and the Chargers defense force Tom Brady into just enough escapes to get the win. Yes, I am going with Philip Rivers and the Chargers in an upset.

Chargers 27, Patriots 20