Chargers @ Ravens
The Los Angeles Chargers are in Baltimore this weekend to take on the Ravens in the AFC Wildcard matchup.
Baltimore is riding a three-game win streak while the Chargers beat the Broncos in week seventeen, but lost to Baltimore the week before.
So obviously, in terms of winning momentum, the Ravens have the upper hand. But will it matter? New week, each game is a one-game season in the NFL playoffs.
I like what I’ve seen from the Chargers this season, as an NFL fan—not a Broncos fan. They have been very good on both sides of the ball.
On offense, they have running back Melvin Gordon back. This will help them tremendously for not only running, but throwing play action, as well. They have a rising star wide receiver in Mike Williams who I am very impressed with.
Baltimore has some well-known wide receivers, but none of them have cracked even 750 receiving yards. The Ravens are going to utilize Lamar Jackson’s running ability as best they can to avoid pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
I just don’t think that will be enough for Baltimore to advance in the playoffs.
Chargers 37, Ravens 14
For the Sunday AFC Wildcard Playoff game, the Chargers will be heading to Baltimore to partake in a rematch against the league leading defense of the Ravens. The last time these two teams met, it was a Saturday Night game in LA, and the Ravens pretty convincingly beat the Chargers. However, despite the fact that game was only a few weeks ago, I would be willing to bet this week goes much differently.
The Chargers went 7-1 this year on the road, so clearly playing on the road doesn’t faze them. Actually only five of Los Angeles’ wins this year came at home. So if anything, playing on the road levels the playing field for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Rivers has his hands full this week with one of the premiere defenses in the league.
Los Angeles has suffered some unfortunate injuries towards the end of the year, but with Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon both expected to start, the Charger offense should be full throttle this weekend.
The Ravens are start rookie QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson has been stellar with his legs in his relief of Joe Flacco down the stretch of the season. Because of the combined run power of Gus Edwards and Jackson, the Ravens finished the 2018 season with the second rated run game in the league, but only the ranked 22nd in passing.
The mission for Los Angeles on Sunday is clear. Force Jackson to throw the ball. While he is by no means a bad quarterback, everyone has seen what he can do when he runs the ball. Los Angeles needs to seal the edges and lock him in the pocket to prevent the Ravens from walking down the field.
When the clock reads zeros, it’ll be the Chargers leaving Baltimore, heading to the divisional round.
Chargers 24, Ravens 17