The Chargers’ Wild Card win sets up a playoff test as tough as it gets – a trip to Foxborough in January to play the New England Patriots.
Not only are Tom Brady and company 8-0 at home this year, they’re also 4-0 against teams that qualified for the postseason.
Oh, and there is the matter of all those Super Bowl appearances and victories over the past 19 seasons.
So, this is clearly as hard a task as exists in the NFL, but Philip Rivers is grateful for the opportunity.
The future Hall of Famer has all the respect in the world for Bill Belichick, Brady and the entire Patriots organization.
"It’s exciting to get another chance," Rivers said. "I think it just goes to show, unless you’re the Patriots and I know there’s some other teams that get in the postseason a lot, it’s hard. They’ve been in the conference championship I think seven or eight in a row or whatever, but for most of us it’s not that easy to get in and when you get in and now you know you’re one of eight teams, that’s all you can ask for is a chance.”
To capitalize on that chance, Rivers knows the team has to be better than it was in Baltimore.
“We know we’re going to need to play better offensively, and hopefully (the defense) can keep it rolling and see what happens next Sunday,” he said. “It’s a Bill Belichick-led team and defense, (and) we know they’re in these games (all the time). Whether this be, who knows how many, Brady’s 40th, 38th, something playoff game? So they’re used to these kind of games, so it’ll be a heck of a challenge.”
While there will be a lot of Brady vs. Rivers talk this week, number 17 has only one thing he zeroes in on. However, he does admit it’s special to face a Tom Brady led team.
“Again, I’ve got to focus on that defense,” he said. “Now I’m not playing Tom by any means, but is it special to go to New England to go against a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best quarterback ever to play? (Am I excited to) get another shot at them? Heck yeah. Heck yeah it is special. Just like I always told you, we look over and it’s Peyton Manning on the other side. I’m not playing those guys, but I have a great deal of respect. (I’m a) fan of those guys. So to get an opportunity again to go against them 11 years after we had that opportunity in the 2007 season, yeah, it’s awesome. I’m looking forward to it.”