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January 6, 2019

NFL-PLAYOFFS

Chargers-Ravens in wild card is rematch of late-season game

UNDATED (AP) — The 10-6 Baltimore Ravens are hosting the 12-4 Los Angeles Chargers in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game.

It’s a rematch of a pivotal contest two weeks ago, when Baltimore took control of the AFC North with a 22-10 victory that dropped the Chargers to the No. 6 seed. The Ravens’ top-ranked defense limited Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers to 181 yards passing with two interceptions.

The 37-year-old Rivers has been throwing the football in the NFL since 2004 and has started nine playoff games. This is the Chargers’ first postseason appearance since the 2013 season, and second since 2010.

The last time Baltimore was at home in the postseason was in 2012, when linebacker Ray Lewis and quarterback Joe Flacco engineered a 24-8 victory over Indianapolis to launch a surprising Super Bowl run. Lewis is now in the Hall of Fame, and Flacco is on the bench, replaced by rookie Lamar Jackson. Jackson, a junior at Louisville just a year ago, has been a starter for just under two months, and the Ravens are 6-1 with him as a starter. The 21-year-old is the youngest quarterback ever to start in the postseason.

Sunday’s NFC wild-card game features defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia at Chicago.

The 12-4 Bears are in the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 team won the division. It’s the first playoff appearance for Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears are on a 9-1 tear, while the 9-7 Eagles have won five of six.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles — last year’s Super Bowl MVP — will try to deliver another standout performance while filling in for Carson Wentz. He’s 6-0 in those situations the past two seasons. Foles was particularly good the past three games with Wentz sidelined by a back injury. He tied Philip Rivers’ NFL record in last week’s win over Washington by completing 25 consecutive passes before leaving the game with a chest injury.

Alshon Jeffery will play in Chicago for the first time since the star receiver left the Bears after five seasons to sign with Philadelphia in 2017.

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