The #5 seed Chargers travel to Baltimore to take on the #4 seed Ravens Sunday in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.
The Chargers knocked off the Broncos 23-9 in week 17. In week 15, they beat the Chiefs 29-28 and in week 16 they lost 22-10 to the Ravens
The Ravens defeated the Browns in week 17 to grab the AFC North Division. In week 15, they beat the Buccaneers 20-12 and in week 16 they beat the Chargers 22-10.
Intertops has the Ravens as 2.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 41.5.
Los Angeles Chargers
(12-4 overall, 7-1 on the road)
The Chargers offense has been a force, and now it looks like their getting their star tight end Hunter Henry back. Philip Rivers has been phenomenal, throwing for 4308 yards, 32 TDs and 15 INTs on the year while completing 68.3% of his passes and averaging 8.5 YPA. Keenan Allen has been his top target, catching 97 balls for 1196 yards and 6 TDs. Melvin Gordon (50/490/4), Mike Williams (43/664/10), Tyrell Wiliams (41/653/5) and Austin Ekeler (39/404/3) are highly productive pass catchers as well. Gordon is also their most productive rusher, carrying 175 times this season for 885 yards and 10 TDs in his 12 games. Austin Ekeler has contributed as well with 106 carries for 554 yards and 3 TDs.
The Chargers scoring defense ranks 8th, allowing 20.6 PPG. Their passing defense is ranked 9th, allowing 227.9 yards per game and 23 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks t-19th with 38 sacks. Their run defense ranks 9th allowing 105.8 yards per game and 11 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 20 turnovers and as a team they own a +1 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
RB Austin Ekeler (groin) – questionable, LB Jatavis Brown (ankle) – out
(10-6 overall, 6-2 at home)
The Ravens have transformed their offense to work around Lamar Jackson, who is at his best running the ball. Jackson has thrown for 1201 yards, 6 TDs and 3 INTs while completing 58.2% of his passes and averaging 7.1 YPA this season. Willie Snead (62/651/1), Michael Crabtree (54/607/3), John Brown (42/715/5) and Mark Andrews (34/552/3) have been their main targets. On the ground, they are a multifaceted rushing attack led by Gus Edwards’ 137 carries for 718 yards and 2 TDs, while Lamar Jackson has rushed for 693 yards and 5 TDs on 148 carries.
The Ravens scoring defense ranks 2nd allowing 17.9 PPG. Their pass defense ranks 5th, allowing 210 yards per game and 21 TDs through the air while their pass rush rankst-11th with 43 sacks. Their run defense ranks 4th allowing 82.9 yards per game and 11 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 17 turnovers and as a team they own a -3 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Tavon Young (groin) – questionable
The Ravens went on the road and shut down the high-powered Chargers offense just 2 weeks ago. There is little to make one think that things will be much different this time around, other than Melvin Gordon being back at full strength. The Ravens secondary is just such a well oiled machine capable of high level communication and playmaking to neutralize the weapons the Chargers present. Up front, the Ravens defensive front is tenacious and big, and should keep Gordon and the run game under wraps.
The Chargers struggled to slow down the Ravens rushing attack last time around, and should be a lot of the same this time. The Chargers just lack the size and functional strength up front needed to hold their own against the multiple looks the Ravens give in the run game. However, the Ravens don’t offer a lot of playmaking in the passing game, and the Chargers need to make the most of their opportunities if they force the Ravens into 3rd and long. The matchup should be more closely contested this time around now that the Chargers know what their up against, but little makes one think that they can pull it out against a team that is their kryptonite.
Final Pick: Ravens (-2.5)