Less than 55 hours from kickoff, these 3 players from each team will determine the winner of Sunday’s playoff bout between the Patriots and the Chargers.
That’s as much an indictment of the relative vulnerability surrounding this season’s Patriots team as it is a commendation on this season’s Chargers squad. Los Angeles (12-4) actually has a better record than New England (11-5), but due to the NFL’s playoff format that rewards division winners with home playoff games, the Chargers will once again take to the road to try and prove their mettle.
L.A. is 7-1 away, with the one loss coming just across town against the Rams. N.E. is 8-0 at home, the league’s only team with an unblemished record inside its own building. In other words: something’s gotta give on Sunday.
There will be thousands of players, coaches, assistants, trainers, fans, and other individuals crammed into Gillette Stadium this weekend, each and every one of them concentrating on doing whatever it takes for their side to emerge victorious. Out of that sea of people, here are three key players for each team that will ultimately have the most bearing on the final result.