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Philip Rivers looking forward to rematch vs. Patriots

The Los Angeles Chargers emerged from the opening round of the playoffs with a tough win over the Baltimore Ravens.

And the Chargers now face a harder task against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, where the Patriots went 8-0 during the regular season.

A daunting matchup, for sure, but Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers embraces the opportunity to renew acquaintances with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

"I have to focus on defense -- I'm not playing Tom by any means -- but is it special to go to New England to go against a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best quarterback ever to play, and get another shot at them?" Rivers said, via the Chargers' official website. "Heck yeah. Heck yeah, it is. It is special.

"Just like I always told you, we look over and it's Peyton Manning on the other side. I'm not playing those guys, but I have a great deal of respect, [I'm a] fan of those guys. So, to get an opportunity again to go against them 11 years after we had that opportunity in the 2007 season, yeah, it's awesome. I'm looking forward to it."

Rivers' enthusiasm appears to be fueled by the last time the Chargers and Patriots squared off for an opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl.

The two teams met at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 20, 2008, and produced a classic with Rivers playing on a partially torn ACL. The injury, however, didn't prevent Rivers from turning in a gritty performance before the Patriots emerged with a 21-12 win.

The upcoming AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs could provide a form of redemption for Rivers should the Chargers win, but the signal-caller must first overcome history against Brady, who is 7-0, which includes two playoff wins, in head-to-head matchups against Rivers.

Nevertheless, the Chargers quarterback understands advancing in the postseason means taking advantage of the opportunity, and it just happens that the Patriots are the next opponent.

"It's exciting to get another chance," Rivers said. "I think it just goes to show, unless you're the Patriots and I know there's some other teams that get in the postseason a lot, it's hard.

"They've been in the conference championship I think seven or eight in a row or whatever, but for most of us it's not that easy to get in and when you get in and now you know you're one of eight teams, that's all you can ask for is a chance."

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