The New England Patriots have played in seven consecutive AFC Championship Games, facing a laundry list of subpar AFC teams in the divisional round over the years.
That trend will stop Sunday when the No. 5 seed Los Angeles Chargers head to Gillette Stadium. LA is the most complete team the Patriots have faced this season and might be the best team in the AFC, despite missing out on the AFC West title by virtue of tiebreaker loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Still, the Patriots had a first-round bye, and the Chargers must travel a whole six hours via private jet to New England so surely Bill Belichick and Co. will have the upper hand Sunday, especially if it’s cold, right?
While New England getting a week to rest might prove significant, the Chargers thrive on the road. In fact, LA’s nine away wins put it in historical company, which could be bad news for the Patriots.
LA has been brilliant outside of Los Angeles County this season, going a perfect 9-0, including a win in London. The Chargers’ only road loss came against the Los Angeles Rams. But the Patriots have been equally as impressive at home, compiling an 8-0 record en route their ninth consecutive season with a first-round bye.
Something has to give Sunday, but if history is any indicator the Bolts might spring the upset and move one step closer to Super Bowl immortality.
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Thumbnail photo via Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports Images