San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Sunday 4:15pm, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
There is no game in the NFL as hard hitting and intense as the Ravens/Steelers game every year and this year’s game lived up to the hype. What better reward after beating the Steelers than to have to fly to the west coast? The schedule makers did not do the Ravens any favors by sandwiching a west coast trip in between two Steelers games. Certainly the Ravens will not make any excuses but this game smells like the prototypical trap game, especially given the success the Chargers have had against the Ravens. If the Ravens want to be a top 2 seed in the playoffs they need to go to San Diego and beat a team that is struggling. But will they?
Here is my take on the game:
Ravens offense vs. Chargers defense:
It’s week 12 and I have finally given up predicting the Ravens offense will be successful and move the ball away from M&T Bank Stadium. I sound like a broken record saying that the Ravens have the weapons to be one of the best offenses in football, but this offense has looked flat out awful on the road. The Chargers defense only gives up 88 yards rushing per game which means that the Ravens will have to be able to pass successfully if they are going to score points, something which they haven’t done on the road this season.
Chargers offense vs. Ravens defense:
Phillip Rivers was one of the best quarterbacks in football, however the last season and a half he has been nothing better than mediocre. This is not the same Chargers offense that torched the Ravens last season, but then again this isn’t the same Ravens defense either. The Ravens patchwork secondary held up last week and the Ravens defense as a whole played its best game all season. Rivers no longer has Vincent Jackson who was a major mismatch for the Ravens defense last season and Antonio Gates hasn’t really been healthy all season. On top of that, the Chargers only average 100 yards rushing a game, so the Ravens defense should definitely be able to hold the Chargers under 24 points. If they do that, they should be able to win the game.
Jacoby Jones scored the Ravens only touchdown last week and he gives this team a weapon they haven’t had in years. Jones has emerged into one of the best returners in football and without him the Ravens would probably have at least one more loss. Special teams can often win and lose games for teams and the Ravens have one of the best special team units in football. They should play a major role in determining the outcome of this game.
I can honestly say I have no idea who is going to the win this game. If it was in Baltimore the Ravens would win by at least 10 points, but flying to the west coast is a completely different story. This is not the same explosive Chargers offense but teams always seem to have breakout games when they play the Ravens and I have a feeling Rivers may have his best game of the season. If he does, the Ravens don’t stand a chance. If he plays like he has played for the majority of the season, the Ravens will have a chance to win the game. Since I have no clue who is going to win the game, I will just pick the Ravens because that is who I want to win.
Ravens 20 Chargers 17.
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