By Dave Thomas

Let the run to January begin.

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After two not overly impressive wins against below .500 teams (Oakland, St. Louis), the San Diego Chargers finish off the next five weekends of play against teams that are certainly looked at as potential playoff contenders between now and the end of the season.

It all begins this coming Sunday clear across country, when the Chargers visit the Baltimore Ravens.

A Super Bowl champion just two seasons ago, the Ravens are in a dogfight in the AFC North with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland for the division title and a possible wild card spot.

Baltimore Always Features Tough ‘D’

When you play the Ravens, you have to not only deal with one of the league’s better defenses each year, but also a quarterback who might fly under the radar to some. QB Joe Flacco to date this season has thrown for 2,521 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

Flacco’s go-to receiver up to this point has been veteran Steve Smith. In his first season with the Ravens after a long career in Carolina, Smith has 49 receptions for 728 yards and four TDs.

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On the ground, Baltimore has been led by Justin Forsett, who comes in with 721 yards and five touchdowns up to now.

While the offense can score, it is Baltimore’s defense that has been the key to winning a pair of Super Bowl titles over the years.

Although the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are of course gone, the Ravens can still play ‘D’ with the best of them.

Through 10 games, linebacker C.J. Mosley leads the way with 57 solo tackles, fellow linebacker Daryl Smith has 83 total tackles, while former Denver linebacker Elvis Dumervil has 10.5 sacks.

Sitting at 6-4 overall, this is the Ravens’ only game against an AFC West opponent this season.

In the all-time series between the two teams, Baltimore holds a slim 5-4 advantage, with the most recent contest being a 16-13 overtime win for the Ravens in 2012.

For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.

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Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.