Now that Wild Card Weekend is over in the NFL, the divisional round matchups are set, and the Patriots will be hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in Foxborough on Sunday for a chance to return to their 9th straight AFC Championship game. Though there are only two weeks of games left before the Super Bowl, there are two very different ways that the Patriots could make it there.
The Road Through Foxborough
Even though the Patriots weren’t able to secure home-field advantage through the playoffs, there’s still a chance that they don’t have to leave New England until the Super Bowl. If the Patriots come out with a win against the Chargers, and the Indianapolis Colts are able to knock off the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots will be hosting the Colts in Foxborough for the championship. This may be a hot take for some, but the Colts matchup very well against the Chiefs, and their defense is much better than Kansas City’s as well. On the other hand, the Patriots are undefeated in Foxborough this year, which is why they’re the slight favorite against the Chargers. If these matchups play out this way, I would expect the Patriots to beat the Colts in Foxborough and head to the Super Bowl once again.
The Road Through Arrowhead
If the Patriots beat the Chargers, but the Chiefs win at home against the Colts, the Patriots will travel to Kansas City to try and punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIII. Although the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the regular season, that game was in Foxborough and they only won by three points. The Chiefs have also added Eric Berry back to the lineup, who is a crucial piece to their otherwise lacking defense. The Patriots would most likely be underdogs in this matchup, but I think it could go either way as we’ve seen how Tom Brady is able to elevate his play come playoff time.
Obviously, going through Foxborough would be ideal for the Patriots if they want to get back to the Super Bowl, as going to Arrowhead to beat the Chiefs would be much more difficult. Either way, the Patriots have to first get past the Chargers, which is the most complete, well-rounded team they’ve faced so far this year. Philip Rivers is a great veteran quarterback and he’s got great weapons in Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, while the defense is young and full of pro bowlers.