FOXBORO, Mass. — Temperatures in the 20s and high teens are expected for Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers.
Considering the Chargers play their home games in balmy Southern California, those conditions should favor the Patriots, right?
After all, New England has been dominant in cold weather during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, going 23-4 in games with a kickoff temperature below 30 degrees. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has started just four such games in his 15-year NFL career, losing three.
Don’t tell that to Belichick, though. The Patriots coach spent his Friday morning news conference downplaying all outside factors surrounding this weekend’s game, including the bitter New England cold.
“They’re a good football team,” Belichick said. “We’re playing the Chargers. We’re not playing the weather. Whatever it is, it is.”
Belichick also wouldn’t say the Chargers are at a disadvantage because they’re traveling east for their second 1 p.m. ET kickoff (10 a.m. PT) in two weeks. Home-field advantage, he said, does not exist in the postseason.
“I don’t think it’s any advantage,” Belichick said. “Last week (in the wild-card round), three of the four road teams won. The advantage is the team that plays well, so that’s what we’re going to try to do. Play and coach our best game Sunday afternoon — that’s our goal.”
The Chargers were one of those three teams. They knocked off the Baltimore Ravens, 23-17, on the road last Sunday.
Rivers and Co. actually have been a force away from home this season. They’re 7-1 on the road and 9-0 in games played outside of Los Angeles County, including wins in Baltimore, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and London.
The Patriots are undefeated at home this season. They’ve won 15 in a row in Foxboro, including a 21-13 win over the Chargers in Week 8 of last season.