Week 12: Baltimore Ravens At San Diego Chargers

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
Winner Joe Flacco has the ability to carry the Ravens’ offense. Head coach John Harbaugh doesn’t want him to be in that position very often, but he knows he can make all the throws needed to dominate any game. Flacco has size, strength and he is an accurate passer. He also throws one of the best deep balls in the league.
The Chargers have been unable to take charge in their division despite what appears to be a significant talent advantage and that is frustrating Philip Rivers. When Rivers is on his game, he can string touchdown passes together. However, he is easily thrown off when his receivers drop passes or his teammates commit penalties.
Winner Running back Ray Rice is one of the best players at his position in the league. While he is not the power runner like Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, Rice packs a real punch when he initiates contact. He also has make-you-miss moves and is a solid receiver. Torrey Smith is a big threat as a downfield receiver while Anquan Boldin will usually hold on to any pass he can reach.
The Chargers have not been consistent on the ground this season and that has not helped their productivity. Ryan Mathews is not an elite back, but he runs hard and he does not go down easily. Malcolm Floyd is a solid receiver while tight end Antonio Gates appears to have slowed down quite a bit this season.
This is not the Ravens’ defense that most fans are used to seeing. The absence of Ray Lewis (torn labrum – out for season) is just one of the problems. The Ravens rank 28th in overall defense and that could cause problems against upper-level opponents. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is an excellent tackler and a big hitter. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is one of the NFL’s best interior linemen.
Winner The Chargers returned an interception for a touchdown against the Broncos, but their offense did not match their effort. The Chargers rank seventh in overall defense and that should be good enough, but they also tend to give up big plays at crucial moments. Safety Atari Bigby is aggressive and nasty while linebacker Donald Butler is a solid tackler.
Special Teams
Winner The Ravens have been the best team in the league to this point at punt return and kickoff return differential. Kickoff returner Jacoby Jones has been explosive with two touchdown returns. Justin Tucker has been sensational as a field goal kicker, making 17-of-18 attempts.
The Chargers are a below average team in kickoff and punt return differential and that will hurt in a game against the Ravens. Preventing Jones from making a big return may prove to be quite difficult. Nick Novak has been solid since taking over the placekicking chores from Nate Kaeding. Punter Mike Scifres has a huge leg.

The Winner Is

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Winner Ravens
3 out of 4

It’s pretty much over for the Chargers and the players seem to know it. Head coach Norv Turner will almost certainly be fired at the end of the season if there is no miracle run and Rivers is obviously frustrated. Going out to the west coast is difficult, but the Ravens should be able to handle their business against a troubled opponent.


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Denver Broncos

    The Broncos square off against their former QB as they welcome in Brock Osweiler and the Texans.

  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks face their NFC West foe on the road as the Cardinals look to get above .500 for the first time this season.

  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Patriots are riding high and now face a Steelers team who will be without their starting QB.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Follow Us On Twitter

Listen Live