Sports Q: Who should the Patriots want in the playoffs?

Debate the answer with Chad Finn and Patriots fans.

J.J. Watt and the Texans, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, and Philip Rivers and the Chargers all offer potential issues for the Patriots.
J.J. Watt and the Texans, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, and Philip Rivers and the Chargers all offer potential issues for the Patriots. –AP Photos

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.

Who should we be rooting for the Patriots to play in the divisional round? Chargers seem like a pretty obvious choice to me. — Dave H.


Hmmm. Think I’m going to go with the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions as the preferred opponent. Stephon Gilmore will neutralize Calvin Johnson and the Patriots will make Dan Orlovsky (or Daunte Culpepper, or Jon Kitna) beat them.

Yep. That’s my choice. The ’08 Lions. I’ve got the Pats by 30 in that one.

Oh, you mean out of teams they might actually play? Man, that’s a tougher one. All three potential opponents the Texans, Ravens and Chargers are really good teams.

I think the one I’d like to avoid most, despite their history of melting down in their letter jackets at Gillette Stadium, is the Texans. Ton of talent there, and Deshaun Watson has done at least a 179 (if not a full 180) from his rusty, not-ready-for-this performance in the opener. We mock the Texans, but they gave the Patriots a pretty good battle two years ago in the playoffs with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. I’m not saying they would beat the Pats, but for once it’s actually feasible.

I know that goes against how most Patriots fans feel. It seems like most of you are wary of the Ravens as far as potential opponents go. I get it. The Ravens do have the best defense in the league, and John Harbaugh has had relative success against the Patriots in the past. They’d be a worthy and loathed opponent, but I can’t see Lamar Jackson coming in here and beating the Patriots. He’s a terrific talent, but he’s still unpolished as a passer. I don’t think he’s ready for this, yet.


By default, that leaves the Chargers as the most welcome opponent, which is remarkable given that they were nearly the No. 1 seed and finished with a better record than the Patriots. But Philip Rivers is lacking in playoff success, including against the Patriots in 2007 and 2008, for a quarterback of his magnitude — he’s a probable Hall of Famer, don’t you think? — and it’s always nice to have a warm-weather opponent here in January.

Ultimately, it is a pretty easy choice. Bring on the 12-4 Chargers.

But what do you guys think? Who do you want the Patriots to play in their first playoff game? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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