Week 16: vs. Baltimore Ravens, Saturday Dec. 22, 5:20 p.m. PST
If the Chargers’ run defense is starving for an extremely tough test, then they will be fulfilled in this primetime matchup.
The Baltimore Ravens offense started the season as a productive and watchable unit, only to turn into an inconsistent and bland attack that did not provide eye-catching highlights. But when Week 11 came around the corner, the Ravens’ offense instantly became a run-heavy and interesting product.
The reason? Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson took the starting gig when veteran signal caller Joe Flacco suffered a hip injury. In his first two career starts, the first-year passer has been unsurprisingly electric running with the football, recording 37 carries for 190 rushing yards and one score.
Jackson is still trying to find his ryhtmn as a passer, tossing one touchdown to three picks in those two starts. Nonetheless, the University of Louisville alum is 2-0 as a starter.
But what has elevated Baltimore’s run game to new heights lately is the emergence of running back Gus Edwards. In his last two games, the rookie from Rutgers University has 40 carries for 233 rushing yards and a touchdown. Edwards has eclipsed 100 yards on the ground in both matchups.
Baltimore’s piercing rushing attack is complemented nicely with one of the NFL’s premier defenses. The Ravens possess the top total defense in the league, as they have given up just 295.4 yards per game. This includes allowing 92.1 rushing yards per game and 203.3 passing yards per game.
The Chargers’ defense will be tasked with stopping a very potent running offense, but Jackson’s sub-par passing skills could prevent the Bolts from losing a key battle in the AFC Wild Card race. The home side will earn a slight win.
Prediction: Chargers 24-21