Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
When: Sunday, November 25, 4:15 ET
On TV: CBS, DirecTV 712
On radio: Sirius 127
Live streaming: NFL Audio Pass
Betting odds: Ravens (-1)
The Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers meet Sunday in San Diego for the second time in two years, and the similar circumstances of the match-up should have the Ravens on their toes. Last year, the Ravens traveled cross-country with a record of 10-3 to face a 6-7 Chargers team that had only recently snapped a six game losing streak. This year, the 8-2 Ravens hope to avoid the shocking trampling the Chargers dealt them last December.
The Chargers are 4-6 and nationally maligned, but they could notch a much-needed victory against a Ravens team that has performed poorly on the road. The Ravens are coming off of a hard fought rivalry game in Pittsburgh last Sunday night, and the offense has yet to display a road performance worthy of praise.
Key match-up: Philip Rivers vs. Ed Reed
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers and Baltimore safety Ed Reed have something in common: both players of capable of making or breaking a series for their respective teams. Rivers, one of the most talented (and disappointing) quarterbacks in the league, has 17 touchdowns, but he also has 14 interceptions.
Reed, a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, still has an uncanny ability to pick off the football, and his presence on the field puts any NFL quarterback out of their comfort zone. At the same time, between age and injuries, Reed has become somewhat of a liability. His presence on the field is extremely important for the Ravens, but it comes along with the chance that he might give up a big play.
Rivers is more likely to make a mental mistake, while Reed's lack of physicality might lead to a break for the Chargers. Look for the mentally sharp Reed to force the errors in this match-up, and expect Rivers to be intercepted by the legendary ball hawk.
What has to go right for the Ravens?
San Diego is 1-5 in their last six games, and the Ravens won't have to play their best game to notch a win. However, either quarterback Joe Flacco or running back Ray Rice will need to move the ball against San Diego. If one of the two gets hot, the Ravens will likely cruise to a victory. However, be it play calling or lack of execution, the Ravens offense has failed to excel in either the passing game or the rushing game while playing outside of Baltimore.
What could go wrong for the Ravens?
If the Chargers jump to an early lead, the Ravens could be in serious trouble. On the road, Flacco and Co. have sputtered as small failures have led to systemic breakdowns. The Ravens have been forced to slow down their new up-tempo offense when playing away. Crowd noise is always a factor for an offense on the road, but Baltimore's offense seems particularly confounded by the phenomenon. However the Chargers may not reap the full benefits of facing the Ravens lackluster road squad. San Diego's lack of success has led to poor attendance.
The game will be blacked out in Southern California because 72 hours prior to kick off, over 9,000 general admission tickets remained unsold. Still, the Chargers greatest chance of defeating the Ravens lies in getting points early and quickly.
Ravens 24, Chargers 16