Below are 10 quick-hitting insights entering the Chargers’ AFC Divisional Round matchup against the New England Patriots:
1) Strength vs. strength: The Chargers are 9-0 when getting on a plane this season; the Patriots were 8-0 at Gillette Stadium during the 2018 regular season.
2) Including stops with the Bills and Jets, Head Coach Anthony Lynn has faced the Patriots in each of the last nine seasons – a total of 18 times including playoffs. This Sunday will mark 10 straight years of Lynn having faced New England.
3) Chargers running back Melvin Gordon and Patriots running back James White were teammates at the University of Wisconsin. During the 2018 regular season, Gordon tallied 1,375 total yards and 14 touchdowns; White totaled 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns.
4) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was sacked two times or fewer in 15 of 16 games during the regular season. The Chargers are coming off of a seven-sack performance against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens – L.A.’s highest sack output in any game this season.
5) The 13-4 Chargers have avenged three of their four losses this season, all on the road (at Kansas City in Week 15, at Denver in Week 17 and at Baltimore last week).
6) Including last Sunday, Los Angeles improved to 8-0 when winning the turnover battle. New England was +10 in turnover differential during the regular season, good for fifth-best in the NFL.
7) The Chargers’ last win in the AFC Divisional Round came on Jan. 13, 2008 – a 28-24 road victory against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. A win Sunday would give Philip Rivers his second AFC Championship appearance, with divisional-round road victories over Manning and Brady to get there.
8) Dating back to last season, Los Angeles has now won its last five games in the Eastern Time Zone (including playoffs) – the longest streak in the Rivers era.
9) Tight end Antonio Gates has caught at least one pass in all 11 playoff games he’s played in. His postseason numbers entering Sunday: 46 catches for 499 yards and one touchdown. Gates hauled in four passes for 35 yards last Sunday in Baltimore.
10) Entering this weekend’s divisional round, Rivers, Brady and Drew Brees have a combined 60 postseason starts. The rest of the field: 15 starts.
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