Los Angeles Dodgers

Patriots meet Rams for another Boston vs L.A. championship matchup

Patriots meet Rams for another Boston vs L.A. championship matchup

When you think about Boston vs Los Angeles, the historic rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers is what immediately comes to mind.

But that won't be the case leading up to Feb. 3, because that's when the Patriots will head to Atlanta to take on the L.A. Rams in Super Bowl LIII. The rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI when the Rams resided in St. Louis comes just months after the Red Sox defeated the L.A. Dodgers in the World Series.

You'll undoubtedly hear all about the history between Boston and L.A. in the next couple weeks, but here's a recap of how championship matchups have gone between the two cities over the years. . .

1962 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–3

1963 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–2

1965 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–1

1966 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–3

1968 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–2

1969 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–3

1984 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–3

1985 NBA Finals: Lakers beat Celtics, 4–2

1987 NBA Finals: Lakers beat Celtics, 4–2

2008 NBA Finals: Celtics beat Lakers, 4–2

2010 NBA Finals: Lakers beat Celtics, 4–3

2018 World Series: Red Sox beat Dodgers, 4-1

2019 Super Bowl: TBD. . .

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Joe Kelly explains why he chose Dodgers over Red Sox in free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

Joe Kelly explains why he chose Dodgers over Red Sox in free agency

Joe Kelly confirmed what many expected: The Los Angeles Dodgers made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

The free agent pitcher recently agreed to a three-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers, opting not to re-sign with the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

The rumor was that L.A. was willing to offer the veteran right-hander a three-year deal that Boston was not. Turns out that's exactly what happened.

Here's Kelly explaining to WEEI's Rob Bradford why he chose the Dodgers over the Red Sox:

"I don't know if there was one moment besides me saying, 'This is the team I want to play for. This is the team that gave me a three-year deal at $25 million,' " Kelly said on the "Bradfo Sho" podcast. 

"It wasn't like I saw the writing on the wall before that. So, I guess the moment where you hear the three-year deal and no other teams are at the three-year mark ... it was like, 'All right, well, I've been really, really involved with speaking with L.A. and understanding the philosophies and behind-the-scenes stuff for pitching.' 

"I was already intrigued, so I guess if you had to put a moment on it, it was that."

Kelly obviously had some strong ties to Boston after his stellar postseason performance helped the Red Sox defeat his new team in the 2018 World Series.

But the 30-year-old's ex-teammates understood him returning to his hometown team (Kelly grew up in Riverside County, Calif.) for a better paycheck and a significant role.

"Brock (Holt) and his wife FaceTimed me and my wife at like seven in the morning, and he was like, ‘Dang, you’re super, duper, duper rich!' " Kelly told Bradford. "And I just started laughing.

I’m obviously so close with those guys and everything was positive from those guys. They understand what’s the best for my family, career."

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AFC Playoff Picture: Why Patriots may actually want the No. 2 seed

AFC Playoff Picture: Why Patriots may actually want the No. 2 seed

If you're here, you probably know the Los Angeles Chargers' wild win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night benefited the New England Patriots.

A quick glance at the AFC standings as of Friday explains why: If the 9-4 Patriots win out, they still have a chance to earn the No. 1 seed if the 11-3 Chiefs and 11-3 Chargers each lose one more game.

*1. Chiefs 11-3
2. Patriots 9-4
3. Texans 9-4
4. Steelers 7-5-1
*5. Chargers 11-3
6. Ravens 7-6
*Clinched postseason berth

With us so far? Good.

But what if we told you New England actually might prefer the No. 2 seed?

That's right: There are two scenarios in which the Patriots have an "easier" path to the Super Bowl if they enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed.

Let's break them down. 

Scenario #1: Chargers as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Chargers, No. 2 Patriots, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chiefs, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chiefs

Divisional Round: Chargers vs. Chiefs, Patriots vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots at Chargers OR Patriots vs. Chiefs

If the Kansas City loses in Seattle next Sunday night and the Chargers knock off the Ravens and Broncos in Weeks 16 and 17, L.A. gets the No. 1 seed.

In that scenario, the Chiefs would drop to No. 5. They'd likely still be favored in their road Wild Card matchup, however, and a win there would set up a rematch with the Chargers. (The No. 1 seed plays the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional Round.)

If the Texans beat the No. 6 seed and lose in New England in the Divisional Round, the AFC Championship Game would be either a Patriots home contest against the lower-seeded Chiefs or a road tilt against the Chargers -- who play in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium.

That's not exactly Arrowhead Stadium.

Furthermore, if the Los Angeles Rams advance to the NFC Championship Game, the city of L.A. could host two Championship Games on the same day -- and we'd imagine most folks would head to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Seems like a winnable scenario for the Patriots, no?

Scenario #2: Chiefs as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Chiefs, No. 2 Patriots, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chargers, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chargers

Divisional Round: Chiefs vs. Chargers, Patriots vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots at Chiefs OR Patriots vs. Chargers

If Kansas City wins out, it gets the No. 1 seed. That's the most likely regular-season scenario.

But that also ensures the Patriots (assuming they hold onto the No. 2 seed) don't have to face the Chiefs or Chargers until the Championship Game.

Yes, a trip to Kansas City for the AFC title game is the worst possible scenario for New England. But if the Chargers can upset the Chiefs on the road -- which they literally just did Thursday night -- the Patriots get another Championship Game at home if they win the Divisional Round.

Of course, if New England somehow earns the No. 1 seed, it's guaranteed home-field advantage. However -- that also sets up a likely Divisional Round matchup against K.C. or L.A.

Quickly, here's how things could play out with the Patriots as the No. 1 seed:

Scenario #3: Patriots as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Patriots, No. 2 Chiefs, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chargers, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chargers

Divisional Round: Patriots vs. Chargers, Chiefs vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots vs. Chiefs OR Patriots vs. Texans

Again, the loser of the AFC West (Chargers or Chiefs) likely still would be favored in their Wild Card matchup, and if they win, they'd play the No. 1 Patriots in the Divisional Round as the lowest remaining seed (assuming Houston beats the No. 6 seed).

Yes, it's a home game, but you could argue scenarios No. 1 and No. 2 present New England's best (and safest) road to Super Bowl LIII. 

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