The San Diego Chargers (2-5) will travel to the east coast and take on the under-performing Baltimore Ravens (1-6) this Sunday. After being steamrolled by the Raiders at home last week, lots of questions are surrounding the Chargers organization from top to bottom. Expectations were high after a productive off-season that saw improve their offensive line, but injuries, poor coaching and underwhelming play have produced just two wins so far this season.
When: Sunday November 1, 10:00 am PT
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Betting: Chargers (+3)
This series is dead even after 10 games in the all-time series. The Chargers won last year (also in Baltimore) with a huge 34-33 come from behind win. The Bolts have won 3 out of the last 5 meetings.
The Bolts offense was snoozing for 3/4’s of the game last week against the Raiders. The defense didn’t help as the Raiders jumped out to a 30-6 lead. Philip Rivers continues to shoulder the burden of an incompetent coaching staff and is putting up incredible numbers. Now he gets to go against a Ravens defense giving up 280 passing yards a game. Look for the fifth 300 yard passing game from Rivers.
Keenan Allen has already caught 62 passes and look for him to be heavily involved again going against a suspect secondary. He’s on pace to smash the Chargers’ franchise record for receptions in a season. LaDainian Tomlinson currently holds the record with 100 receptions (crazy) in 2003.
The Chargers running game has been non-existent this year. Melvin Gordon was benched but still saw some carries late in the second half against the Raiders. Not the best way to instill some confidence in your rookie running back.
Danny Woodhead has been the best Chargers’ running back because his hands. He’s catching everything and is a threat out of the backfield on every play.
A unit that allowed the Raiders to score on their first 7 possessions last week has to improve this Sunday right? The Ravens only threat is Steve Smith Sr. and Verrett will hopefully show him what the new school can do.
Jerry Attaochu leads the team with 4 sacks and will need to get after Joe Flacco and disrupt the passing game. Corey Liuget and the rest of the front seven will need to key on stopping Justin Forsett who is averaging 4.3 YPC and the Bolts have been terrible defending the run.
Eric Weddle missed his first game in 6 years last week and Jimmy Wilson got the start but was beat on a few plays and had his ankles broken on a Amari Cooper juke. If Weddle comes back, hopefully he can provide some leadership in center field.
Joe Flacco has thrown for 9 TD’s but also 8 INT’s, but still has a cannon of an arm and can make all the throws down field. Steve Smith Sr. leads the team in receptions with 41, while compiling 588 yards and three touch downs. SSS will be the focal point through the air and he’s still a beast at age 36.
Justin Forsett emerged as a 30-year old go-to running back last year for the Ravens and has looked
just as strong this year. He totes a 4.3 YPC on 116 carries and is just shy of 500 yards on the season. He’s also possesses great hands and can be a mismatch in coverage for linebackers.
Usually the bread and butter of the organization, the defense for the Ravens have taken a step back over the last couple of years. Talented pass-rusher Terrell Suggs tore his achilles during week 1, but they still have Elvis Dumervil coming off the edge with 2.5 sacks.
Inside linebackers Daryl Smith and C.J. Mosely are tackling machines and will be looking to stuff any run game the Chargers attempt.
Cornerback Ladarius Webb and SS Will Hill lead a secondary that is susceptible to the big play. They will have their hands full against Rivers and the talented pass catchers of the Chargers.
What We’re Watching:
Can the defense force some turnovers? Flacco has thrown 8 INT’s this season and almost has to force the ball to SSS. I’m looking for at least one INT and a strip sack to force a fumble. The team cannot come out flat and needs to play with some intensity, especially on defense, looked so soft last week.
In the Ravens 6 losses this year, they have all come by 8 points or fewer. This game should be pretty close. Not sure what kind of Chargers team will show up. I’m going to say, coin flip, Chargers 27 – Ravens 24.