Baltimore Ravens vs San Diego Chargers: Final Prediction


Nov 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) reacts after a sack in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens-San Diego Chargers matchups tend to produce memorable plays. In 2012, Ravens fans were treated to “Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle,” while in 2009, Ray Lewis made one of the best plays of his career, stuffing Darren Sproles on the Chargers’ last play to seal a victory. Are there more fireworks in store for this year’s rendition of the intercoastal matchup?

My guess is no. This Ravens-Chargers matchup should have a closer margin of victory to the 2011 rendition, when the Chargers beat the Ravens 34-14, but this time should be a Ravens win.

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Let’s start with this simple fact: The Ravens are 4-1 at home, and the Chargers are 2-3 on the road. Further, cross-country away games are remarkably difficult to win. Those facts alone are enough to give the Ravens an edge.

In terms of matchups, the Ravens have an edge in most facets. The Chargers’ defense is solid, ranking ninth in the league in total defense. That’s a bit misleading, though, as the Chargers are middle of the pack in terms of yards per play, ranking 16th in the league giving up 5.4 yards per play.

The key for the Ravens offensively will be to run the ball effectively against the Chargers. The Chargers rank 21st in the league giving up 4.4 yards per rush, so the Ravens would be wise to pound the rock early and often. With Justin Forsett in the midst of a career defining hot streak, the Ravens should have little trouble racking up some solid rushing numbers.

The Chargers are better against the pass, giving up 6.8 yards per pass and ranking sixth in the league in total pass defense. That said, San Diego has struggled to generate turnovers, as opposing quarterbacks have racked up a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. As long as Joe Flacco is efficient and takes care of the football, the Ravens should be fine on offense.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens’ front seven has a massive advantage against the Chargers’ struggling offensive line. The Bolts only run for 3.3 yards per carry, the second-worst mark in the league, and Philip Rivers has been sacked 21 times despite his quick release.

A strong pass rush would help the Ravens overcome the marginal secondary play, and it helps that the Chargers don’t have any huge YAC (yards after catch) threats. Eddie Royal is pretty solid in that regard, but Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd are bigger guys who aren’t as threatening after the catch.

Two things are at least a bit concerning for the Ravens: They are coming off a short week, and Philip Rivers could pick apart this secondary.

Neither of those things should be enough to counteract the Ravens’ home-field advantage.

As long as the Ravens don’t have to play from behind, they should have little trouble running the football effectively. The pass rush should get to Rivers on a consistent basis, forcing a turnover or two and keeping the Chargers’ passing game in check. There is no real threat of the Chargers running the ball effectively against the Ravens’ stout front seven, so the Ravens should be able to win handily.

Final Score Prediction: Ravens 27, Chargers 16

Next: Ravens vs Chargers: 3 Bold Predictions