The Green Bay Packers and Denver Tebows’ have stolen the headlines of football while the Baltimore Ravens are silently 10-3 and have legitimate super bowl aspirations. The (6-7) San Diego Chargers host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night football. The Ravens and Chargers have suffered numerous disappointing losses this season. The Chargers let one disappointing loss turn into six consecutive losses. The savvy Ravens learned from their embarrassments and continued to improve. The Chargers will likely miss the playoffs for their second straight year and continue to regress. On the other end of the spectrum, the Ravens have gotten over their biggest hurdle by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers twice this season. Although the Chargers have bounced back nicely winning two straight. Here are my keys to the game in order for the Chargers to beat the Ravens.
Score 30 plus points
The Chargers hope this game turns into an old fashioned shootout while Baltimore prefers a low scoring defensive battle. Philip Rivers season has been rejuvenated after two solid games resulting in 534 yards, 6 touchdowns and most importantly 0 interceptions. Yet some are still very skeptical to believe Rivers is back to his 2010 caliber of play. Rivers resurgence has come against two sub par teams and many believe he will be erratic against a stout Ravens defense. Sadly, I can’t disagree with those people. The Ravens defense currently ranks 3rd in the NFL only allowing 15.5 points per game. All pro Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has missed their last four games and will likely make his return this weekend. The Chargers will struggle to run on the Ravens who have the 2nd ranked run defense and sport arguably the best front seven lead by nose tackle Haloti Ngata. The Ravens pass defense ranks 4th in the NFL which makes this defense arguably the most balanced in the NFL. However, the Chargers best and only shot at winning this game is through the air. Rivers and his elite receiving core will need to perform extremely well and light up the scoreboard for 30 plus points for San Diego to beat Baltimore.
Protect Philip Rivers
The Baltimore Ravens 45 sacks ranks 1st in the NFL. The Chargers have a make shift offensive line that is susceptible to giving up sacks. Left tackle Jared Gaither has been very good since being signed, yet this week is facing a much tougher group. Philip Rivers will have a hard time breaking down this strong secondary. If Rivers doesn’t have time to make his necessary reads, expect him to turn the ball over early and often. Chargers offensive line coach Hal Hunter needs to create schemes to insure the Ravens won’t be able to hunt down his quarterback (Rivers.) GOOD LUCK!
Make Joe Flacco Win
The Ravens ideal situation is to run the ball down San Diego’s throat about 30 times with pro bowl running back Ray Rice. San Diego must stand tall and limit Rice’s effectiveness early therefore forcing quarterback Joe Flacco beat them through the air. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh has abandoned the run numerous times this season resulting in loses to Jacksonville and Seattle. Rice only had 13 carries combined in the two losses. San Diego fans will be preying offensive coordinator Cam Cameron makes that mistake again. Flacco is a good quarterback and is capable of beating the Chargers. Despite the previously stated opinion, the Bolts best shot at winning is making Flacco go on a rare aerial assault rather than chasing Rice around the backfield. Flacco only averages 1.15 touchdown passes a game this season. If San Diego keeps Rice under 100 yards rushing they will have a realistic shot to win.
Prediction: Ravens over Chargers 31-24