The Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) will travel to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland to face the Ravens (10-6). This wildcard matchup will kick off at 1:05 PM. ET.
The Los Angeles Chargers would be the best team in the AFC if it weren’t for the Chiefs. Los Angeles finished with the second-best record in the AFC, but couldn’t overtake Kansas City as the AFC West division winners. By finishing second in their division, the Chargers fell to the five seed. Last week against the Broncos, Philip Rivers struggled against the Denver defense. Despite pulling off the victory, the Chargers aren’t coming into this matchup with a lot of momentum. Facing a strong Baltimore defense, expect the Chargers’ elite offense to struggle with blocking and turnovers.
The Raven’s come into the playoff as the team no one wants to face-especially the Chargers. Baltimore will face Los Angeles for the second time in three weeks. The last time these two teams faced off, the Ravens defeated the Chargers 22-10.
The Chargers have the edge or at least they should.
On paper, the Chargers are the better team in this matchup. Los Angeles has been overshadowed all season by Kansas City. But the Chargers cannot be overlooked this week. Whichever team comes out of this game, will be the team no one wants to face. If the Raven’s win, it will be on the back of a solid defensive performance—if the Chargers win, it will be the result of an offensive onslaught. The Chargers have a plethora of offensive weapons that will take the field today that no team will want to face, starting with Melvin Gordon.
Gordon will take the field on Sunday, and could be the most dangerous player in the AFC playoffs that’s not a quarterback. He’s routinely overlooked at the running back position, but among backs league-wide, Gordon is one of the most well-rounded players in the NFL. On the season, Gordon’s rushed for 885 yards on 175 carries. His 10 rushing touchdowns were good enough for 6th in the league. Gordon isn’t only a dynamic rusher, he’s also a major threat in the Chargers’ passing attack. On the season, as a receiver, Gordon hauled in 50 receptions for 10 touchdowns.
Facing a high-powered Chargers offense, can the Ravens’ defense rise to the occasion?
Baltimore’s defense ranks first in the NFL in yards allowed per game. The Ravens’ defense allows a mere 292 yards of total offense per game. On the season, the Raven’s allow the second-fewest points per game. The Chargers have the 11th strongest offensive line. Facing a Ravens’ defense that ranks 11th in the league in terms of sacks, expect a strong battle to take place between these two lines. The Chargers’ may have an advantage early on, but if this game remains close, give the edge to Baltimore’s defense to make game-saving stops late in the game.
Baltimore’s offense is playing with a noticeable edge with Lamar Jackson under center. In his short NFL career as a starter, Jackson has thrown 6 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. But it’s what Jackson can do with his legs, the ability to make game-changing plays, that makes him a multi-dimensional talent that’s capable of leading a team to a playoff victory. On the season, Jackson has rushed for 695 yards on 147 attempts. He also found the end zone five times. Facing a Chargers defense that allowed the 9th fewest rushing yards per game, expect the Chargers to be prepared for the threat of Jackson’s legs.
Chargers Vs Ravens Betting Lines
While the Ravens won this matchup less than a month ago, playing the same team in this short of a span is never easy. The advantage is always with the losing team. It’s hard to beat a team twice in one season in this league. The Ravens cannot rest on their laurels and believe they’ll have the same success against the Chargers as they did before. However, the Chargers should be worried going into Baltimore. In the playoffs, the defense is king, and the Ravens’ defense is nothing to scoff at. This game will be close, but in the end, expect the Ravens’ stout defense to stifle the Chargers. Los Angeles might have the second-best record in the AFC, but the Ravens just might have a better team to make a deep playoff run.
Play: Ravens -3.5 @ BetOnline.ag