Baltimore Ravens or Los Angeles Chargers
Baltimore Ravens versus Los Angeles Chargers. Will the Chargers keep pace with the Chiefs?
The Chargers are coming off a big win against the Chiefs last week by the score of 29-28 to keep pace with them in the AFC West. However, they lost the tie breaker to Kansas City, so winning out is paramount for their chances at the number one seed in the AFC.
Baltimore is also in a dogfight in the AFC North, coming in a half game behind the Steelers. The Ravens, who are 4.5-point underdogs in this one, is the top defensive team in the NFL, allowing just 18.1 points per game. Offensively, they are just above the middle of the pack, ranked 13th at 24.4 per game.
On the flip side, the Chargers have one of the most high-powered offensive attacks, averaging 28.2 points per game. While not known for their defence, they are very good at ninth in the league, allowing 21.3 per contest.
The Chargers offence is led by MVP candidate Philip Rivers, who has a 31-to-8 touchdown to interception ratio and is closing in on 4000 yards passing. He undoubtedly will look to find top target Keenan Allen, who has 88 receptions for 1074 yards. If the Ravens take him away, Rivers could look for Mike Williams, who has found the end zone nine times this season.
Passing the ball could be tough against the Ravens, who have 39 quarterback sacks and allowed only 58 percent off opposing passes to be completed. Therefore, the Chargers may look to the ground game and two-headed monster Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. They have combined for 11 touchdowns, nearly 1300 yards and over five yards per attempt.
Lamar Jackson has taken over for the Ravens at quarterback, with Joe Flacco serving as the backup. Jackson has been much more dangerous on the ground than in the air, leading the team with 566 yards. Ball control with Jackson and running back Gus Edwards could be the key to success, keeping the Los Angeles offence on the sidelines as much as possible.
Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead should be the primary targets or Jackson when he is forced to throw, while John Brown leads the team with five touchdown receptions.
The Ravens have a big advantage in the kicking game, as Justin Tucker has hit 28-of-30 field goals, including all four from beyond 50.
The over-under for this game is hovering around 44. I’m looking at the over on this one and despite the Raven’s tough defence, the Chargers are simply too potent on offence. The Ravens’ mediocre road record doesn’t help, so look for the Chargers to win and cover.
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