The Los Angeles Chargers were unable to capitalize and take the AFC West from the Kansas City Chiefs but doesn’t need the home-field advantage anyway.
The Los Angeles Chargers made the AFC West very interesting after the team defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on the last Thursday Night Football game of the year in Week 15.
If the Chargers won out and the Chiefs lost one game, the Chargers would be AFC West Champions and the AFC’s number one seed.
The Chiefs lost one game: a very entertaining Week 16 Sunday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. However, the night before, the Chargers dropped an ugly loss to the Baltimore Ravens after getting manhandled in the trenches.
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Now, the Los Angeles Chargers will head to Baltimore as the fifth seed and play Sunday afternoon on Wild Card Weekend. This is a pretty scary matchup for the Chargers, especially after watching what happened in Week 16.
However, one thing the Los Angeles Chargers should not be worrying about as they enter the NFL playoffs is home-field advantage. While the team was playing for it the last three weeks of the year, Los Angeles is not hurt at all by the lack of it.
We all know the joke: the StubHub Center always looks more like a visiting stadium than a home stadium. And while it got better as the team got more successful, that still is the case, especially if a team like the Chiefs came into town.
Playing in Baltimore is no easy feat, either. The defense is better on the road with the crowd noise and the offense usually is more efficient as well.
I wouldn’t say that it gives the Ravens any more of an advantage, though. In fact, the Los Angeles Chargers seem to thrive on the road, especially when there is a loud crowd that is trying to disrupt the play.
It is almost like the visiting crowd is poking the bear.
The Los Angeles Chargers were 7-1 on the road this season and 8-1 away from the StubHub Center if you count the team’s win over the Tennesee Titans in London. The only loss on the road came against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, another team that doesn’t have the greatest home crowds.
The Chargers have gone into the hardest places to win and have won. Heinz Field, Arrowhead Stadium, Centurylink Field, Mile High Stadium. Heck, even Cleveland became a hard place to win this season and the Chargers handily defeated the Browns.
Baltimore will be no different. The game is going to come down to how the offensive line can make adjustments and actually give Philip Rivers time to throw.
It will not be decided by home-field advantage, and none of the games in the playoffs should be. If there is one silver lining that gives the Los Angeles Chargers an advantage that it is. The team is already used to winning playoff-like games on the road.