The New England Patriots had a modest season by their lofty standards, but they start their quest for a fifth AFC championship this decade on Sunday when they host the red-hot Los Angeles Chargers. Kickoff for the AFC Divisional game is set for 1:05 p.m. ET from Gillette Stadium, and you can watch the action on CBS. The second-seeded Patriots (11-5) haven't lost a home playoff game in six years, but the fifth-seeded Chargers (13-4) are undefeated outside of California this season. New England is a four-point favorite in the latest Patriots vs. Chargers odds, down from an opener of -5 in most markets. The over-under for total points scored is 47.5. Temperatures in the 20s are expected in the latest Chargers vs. Patriots weather, but unlike what we saw at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Saturday, no snow is expected.. Before you lock in your Patriots vs. Chargers picks and NFL Playoff predictions, listen to what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
SportsLine's proprietary computer model went 176-80 straight up last season and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Sports Office Pool players in 2016 and '17. It also performed better than 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com during that span. Additionally, it went 48-34 on A-rated picks against the spread last season, and $100 bettors who have followed it the past two seasons are up nearly $4,000.
The model has continued to nail its top-rated picks in 2018-19, entering the divisional round on a blistering 16-6 run. For the season, it is now 30-15 on all top-rated picks, extending its two-year run to a strong 78-49. It also went 170-84 on straight-up NFL picks during the regular season, ranking inside the top 10 on NFLPickWatch.com. Additionally, it hit all four NFL spread picks on Wild Card Weekend. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now, it has crunched the numbers for Chargers vs. Patriots (stream live on fuboTV) from every angle and simulated the game 10,000 times. We can tell you it's leaning Under, but it also says one side of the spread has all the value, making it a must-back. That pick is only available at SportsLine.
The model knows the Patriots looked mediocre at times and went 4-3 down the stretch, with all the wins coming against non-playoff teams. But they have often been at their best when they are perceived as vulnerable. One such instance came in the 2007 divisional round when they were four-point underdogs visiting a Chargers club that went 14-2 and was 8-0 at home in the regular season. Tom Brady rallied the Patriots to 11 points in the final four minutes and a 24-21 upset victory.
Brady has never lost to his counterpart, Philip Rivers, and had a solid season that was lost amid the attention given to the likes of the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Saints' Drew Brees. Brady completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. A defense that was gashed in New England's losses still finished with a top-10 scoring mark at 20.3 points per game.
Still, New England is no sure thing to cover the Patriots vs. Chargers spread against an L.A. (13-4) team that heads to Foxborough playing perhaps as well as any team in the NFL right now.
The model also knows that 37-year-old Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is the key to L.A.'s offense. The Patriots have had suspect pass defense all season, ranking 22nd in the NFL, while allowing over 260 passing yards per game in their five losses. Rivers has had one of the best seasons of his career and distributed the ball effectively to a wide variety of playmakers, which could be the biggest advantage for the Chargers.
Los Angeles had nine different players with double-digit receptions in the regular season and the Chargers' offense is expected to get even more ammo on Sunday. Dynamic young tight end Hunter Henry (knee) is expected to return to action for the first time this season. He had eight touchdowns on just 36 receptions last season.
Who wins Chargers vs. Patriots? And which side of the spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the computer model that has returned nearly $4,000 to $100 bettors over the past two seasons.