Ugly is the only word to describe last season’s meeting with the San Diego Chargers. The Baltimore Ravens lost 34-14, an embarrassing loss that will hopefully motivate them to play like Ravens and beat the Chargers when they play them Sunday in San Diego.
Records don’t always tell the whole story. This is the case with each team. The 8-2 Ravens barely squeaked out some wins and the 4-6 Chargers have offensive talent, but haven’t produced much this season.
The Ravens know that they can’t afford to sleep on the Chargers, especially the Chargers’ struggling offense. They have Pro Bowl players in nearly every position except for wide receiver. They lost star wide out Vincent Jackson to Tampa in free agency in the off season.
Running back Ryan Mathews is back after being injured, but he’s struggled this season; his numbers show a drop in average yards and yards per carry.
Quarterback Philip Rivers has his lowest quarterback rating since 2007 (87.6).
Even with their offensive woes, the Chargers can still “show” up and the struggling, yet improved Ravens defense needs to contain Rivers.
Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees knows that Rivers is still a force to be reckoned with.
“Rivers is still one of the premier quarterbacks,” Pees said. “The thing that makes him dangerous is he’s got a lot of velocity on the ball and actually throws it pretty accurately and effectively down the field without having to step into it.
The Ravens struggle on the road; this week they have the added issue of a three hour time difference.
To prepare his team for the time change, head coach John Harbaugh altered their practice schedule this week based on suggestions from staff who reviewed sleep studies to see how they could best prepare for west coast games.
The Ravens hope that tight end Dennis Pitta will be active Sunday. Pitta suffered a concussion in last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he passed the concussion test and was cleared to play, he is listed as probable.
Defensive end Pernell McPhee still has nagging knee and thigh injuries and is listed as questionable. He has not played since the October 21 game against the Houston Texans.
Also probable is defensive tackle Terrence Cody with an elbow injury. He sat out of last week’s game and was limited in practice this week.
Cornerback Chris Johnson, brought in to replace injured CB Jimmy Smith, suffered a hamstring injury last week and is doubtful for Sunday. He did not practice this week.
As part of the comprehensive Ravens’ injury report, notable players listed as probable include: linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo and Dannell Ellerbe and wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
The Chargers ruled out three players including former Ravens’ offensive tackle Jared Gaither, linebacker Larry English and wide receiver Eddie Royal.
Even though the Chargers are having a mediocre season and the Ravens are favored to win the game, I’m not 100% confident they will win.
Ravens vs. Chargers games are always tough and the Ravens have the short end of the stick since they don’t play well on the road and have to endure the time change. Last season’s meeting was brutal for the Ravens; I hope they don’t have a repeat of that game.