The Baltimore Ravens are in the playoffs, barely. The Browns did their best to try and upset the Ravens last week, but they fell short in their bid to keep them out of the playoffs. If they did win, it would have been the Steelers going to the playoffs. How far would they have really made it, though?
The team is in disarray and would have been going into this weekend limping. With the Antonio Brown drama unfolding, I don’t know who would have had much confidence in the Steelers next week. With that said, it’s likely for the best that the Ravens got through. They should be able to give a better game than the Steelers.
They will welcome the Los Angeles Chargers to Baltimore after an impressive year. It was an MVP like season for Philip Rivers, but it could all end in just one game. A win for the Ravens will bring what has been a solid season for the Chargers to a halt. There were plenty of people in the regular season that had this team going to the Super Bowl.
Now that they have to travel to the east coast and play the Ravens, I don’t think there is as much confidence from those same people. There are some other talented teams they’ll have to defeat as well, even if they beat the Ravens on Sunday.
Rivers and the Chargers have been undervalued all season long, though. Sort of like the Eagles last season, who were underdogs throughout the entire postseason, the Chargers hope to duplicate that mentality. In their first meeting against the Ravens this season, they fell by a score of 22-10 on December 22nd. Rivers had his worst start of the year, as he threw 2 interceptions with no touchdowns. That was the outlier for Rivers this season. Otherwise he was on point and played like an MVP. Head below for our free Chargers vs. Ravens pick in the AFC Wild Card Game.
L.A. Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens AFC Wild Card Game Betting Odds:
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Chargers vs. Ravens Pick:
Rivers enters Wild Card Weekend with a standout QB rating of 105.5. He passed for 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was two touchdowns short of matching a career-high, but he did match a career high with his QB rating. He’s had more weapons at his disposal to get him there, though. The emergence of Mike Williams in the passing game has helped out, especially in the red zone where he’s hauled in 10 touchdown passes from Rivers.
With reports suggesting that Melvin Gordon is ready to go on Sunday, the Ravens are going to have to stop a potent offense twice in less than a month. Despite missing three weeks, Gordon has rushed for 885 yards and 192 receiving yards.
Most importantly, he shattered his previous yard per carry high by over a yard. Gordon carried the rock for an average of 5.1 yards in 2018. The Chargers finished tied for 6th in the league with 26.8 points per game. They’ve also been capable on the road with 27.75 points per game. In fact, the Chargers only loss on the road was to the Rams, 25-23, back in September.
The Chargers know all about this defense they have to contend against, though. Rivers was held to less 200 yards passing and Gordon rushed for just 41 yards. That was a giant letdown spot for the Chargers, however. They just knocked off the Chiefs in Kansas City at Arrowhead on Sunday Night Football the week prior. It was an important loss for the Chargers, though, as it flipped homefield advantage towards the Ravens.
They’re going to have to deal with the best defense in the NFL. In an era where scoring is way up and defense hasn’t meant as much, this isn’t the 2000 Ravens’ defense. It’s not impossible to move the ball on them, albeit they can still cause havoc. Baltimore allowed 292.9 yards per game for 1st in the league. In any event, the Chargers are not scared of going on the road and after this season Rivers has had, I don’t believe he’s going to go away quietly. I expect him to be ready to correct the mistakes he made in the first meeting.
Lamar Jackson has shown that he can be a dangerous threat. In his first meeting against the Chargers, he ran for 39 yards and passed for 204 yards with a touchdown. The Chargers did a nice job limiting Jackson on the ground to just 39 yards, but are going to have to find more offense. This will of course be Jackson’s first playoff game in the NFL. He’s a talented player, though a determined Philip Rivers with points is tough to bet against. Give me the veteran under pressure in one of his best seasons he’s had in his career. Also, just a disclaimer, don’t up your unit size because it’s playoff games. Your bankroll doesn’t care that it’s an important game. Be smart and maintain solid bankroll management skills.