By Norm Elrod
(CBS Boston/CBS Local) — The divisional round of this year’s NFL playoffs is filled with great matchups, the Los Angeles Chargers – New England Patriots among them. Philip Rivers and the Chargers find themselves in Foxboro, where Tom Brady and the Patriots will look to continue their dominance. The Pats are undefeated at home this season. But the Chargers, the League’s current road warriors, have won eight games out side of LA. Something has to give.
To start weekend, the Indianapolis Colts, currently the NFL’s hottest team, travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs, the NFL’s hottest team for much of the season. The Dallas Cowboys hope to ride Ezekiel Elliott, holder of this season’s rushing title, out of LA with a win over the Rams. In Sunday’s early game, the Chargers look to beat the Tom Brady-led Patriots for the first time in the Rivers era. And the Philadelphia Eagles will try to contain Drew Brees and the Saints’ aerial attack in the late game.
It’s a full weekend of playoff football. We caught up with CBS Boston sports anchor Steve Burton to get his insights on the matchups.
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
“If there’s one team that can beat Kansas City, it is the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are not a great team, but they are well-balanced on both sides. And they have caught fire. The offensive line is giving Andrew Luck all day to throw the football, and when that happens, we will pick you apart. As for KC, the Chiefs are well-rested coming off their bye. Yes, they have a high-powered offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who may be the League’s MVP. But their defense is suspect. Look for an upset here: Colts 31, Chiefs 28.”
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX)
“This is where Dallas’s season ends. Yes, The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott just won his second rushing title, going over 1400 yards. And he just may slice through the Rams’ defense. But the Rams’ high-powered offense can pick you apart. Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff has Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and the X-factor Josh Reynolds, not to mention Todd Gurley on the ground. A good matchup to watch in this one… Aqib Talib covering covering Amari Cooper. I’m going with the Rams, 31-24 over Dallas.”
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots, Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
“On Sunday, it’s the Chargers and Patriots in the early game in Foxboro, where the Patriots have been invincible at home. They’re the only team in the NFL that went undefeated at home, a perfect 8-0. Some people think the Pats are more mortal this year, and rightfully so. They have struggled on the road. But Tom Brady is a perfect 7-0 against Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers. The Pats are coming off their bye week well-rested. The Chargers have to travel across the country again. I’m going with New England. Pats 34, Chargers 24.”
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
“How in the world do you bet against Drew Brees? For one thing, the Saints embarrassed the Eagles during the regular season, 48-7. But that was back in November. However, Philly hasn’t forgotten that Nick Foles didn’t play in that game. But it really didn’t matter. The Saints dominated. And here’s a surprise: Philly is still playing, yet they own the third-worst pass defense in the League. And as good as Nick Foles has been, Drew Brees should be able to light up the Philly defense. Saints 38, Eagles 27.“