The Los Angeles Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens meet in an AFC Wild Card matchup in NFL action from M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Los Angeles Chargers enter this game as the #5 seed after finishing the regular season 12-4 and only missing out on the #1 seed and the AFC West division crown thanks to a tiebreaker with Kansas City. Philip Rivers threw for 4,308 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 68.3% passing while Melvin Gordon III has rushed for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns while Keenan Allen led the Chargers’ receiving corps with 97 catches for 1,196 yards along with 6 touchdowns while Mike Williams had 664 receiving yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns and Tyrell Williams had 653 receiving yards this season. Defensively, Melvin Ingram III had a team-high 7 sacks while Derwin James had 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions and a team-high 75 tackles this season. As a team, Los Angeles is averaging 372.6 yards of total offense and 26.8 points per game this season.
The Baltimore Ravens come into this game as the #4 seed and AFC North champion after finishing with a 10-6 overall mark with wins in 6 of their last 7 games down the stretch, including a 22-10 win over these same Chargers in week 16. Lamar Jackson threw for 1,201 yards, 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 58.2% passing while also rushing for 695 yards and 5 touchdowns. Gus Edwards led Baltimore in rushing with 718 rushing yards along with a pair of touchdowns. John Brown led the Ravens in receiving with 715 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns while Willie Snead IV had 62 catches for 651 yards and Michael Crabtree had 54 catches for 607 yards. Defensively, Za’Darius Smith leads the Ravens with 8.5 sacks and Matthew Judon and Terrell Suggs each have 7 sacks while C.J. Mosley leads Baltimore with 70 tackles this season. As a team, Baltimore is averaging 374.9 yards of total offense, including the 2nd-most rushing yards per game in the NFL with 152.6 yards per game on the ground to go along with 24.3 points per game this season. The Ravens are also tough defensively, sitting top-5 in total yardage against (292.9 YPG/1st in NFL), passing yards against (210 YPG/5th), rushing yards against (82.9 YPG/4th) and scoring defense (17.9 PPG/2nd) this season.
Los Angeles is 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 road games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 playoff games while the under is 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. Baltimore is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 playoff games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games against the AFC. The road team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these two teams.
I can understand why the Ravens are favored here, as Baltimore played well at home this season, already beat the Chargers two weeks ago on the road and are going to be playing at home where a lot of these guys are used to playing in cold weather, where the Chargers are used to a warmer climate. However, this will be Lamar Jackson’s first playoff start and in these cold conditions, inexperience may tend to show through. The Chargers went 7-1 both SU and ATS on the road this season, and will for sure want revenge after already losing to the Ravens once this season. The Chargers were my dark horse in the AFC before the season started, and I’m not hopping off now. I’ll take the Chargers and the free field goal in a game I can see Los Angeles winning outright.