A Baltimore Postseason Thing



CHARGERS: He may not win the award, but Anthony Lynn deserves some consideration for coach of the year. After the way they finished the 2017 season, the expectations were high coming into 2018. Never did I see them in contention for the AFC West because after they beat the Chiefs on December 13th, they had a good shot at winning the division I felt. Coming into the year, I said that if there was a team that could challenge the Chiefs in the AFC West, it was these Chargers. This is a good football team. They have a nice offensive line that opens up holes for the running game along with keeping the quarterback protected, they have a nice group of receivers who are long and when you see them, you’re often reminded of a basketball team, the defense is average at best and they have a great pass rushing tandem in Ingram and Bosa, but what makes this team run is Philip Rivers. He had the best season of his 15-year career this year and his name has been mentioned in the conversation for the MVP. Rivers is completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,380 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Rivers has two or more touchdown passes in 14 of his last 17 games They also run the ball averaging 117 yards per contest. As a defense, they give up 20 points per game and their best defensive player is a rookie that came in with an immediate impact, Derwin James. He plays his position like a linebacker, he can cover, and he can come away with an interception. They will travel across the country to face one of the hottest teams in the league on Sunday.

RAVENS: The way things have been the last few seasons, you’d be crazy to think they were a favorite to win their division, right? This was the Pittsburgh Steelers division for the taking once again. That’s the beautiful thing about this sport because you never know what’s going to happen. When the Baltimore Ravens started Lamar Jackson, their offense was able to do things they couldn’t with Joe Flacco. Both guys play the game differently. Joe is a guy that was your quintessential pocket passer that doesn’t depend on mobility. Lamar on the other hand, he’s able to do so much more and it starts with his feet. There’s always a guy that can spark up your entire team and that’s exactly what Jackson has done for the Ravens. In the seven games that he started, Baltimore was victorious in six of them. Here they are as the division champs of the AFC North for the first time since 2012 (the last time they won the Super Bowl). Remember what I said about the entire team receiving a boost? No team has been better at running the football than the Ravens have. Gus Edwards gets his carries and quietly goes about his business and it helps when your quarterback is also able to take games over with his feet. No matter what the Ravens put out on the field offensively, their defense will always be the motor of this team. They’ll look to make their run when it all begins for them on Sunday.

CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCHHunter Henry: He’s expected to return for this game from injury and he’s coming back at the perfect time. Not only is he a threat in the red area and third down to convert the chains, he’s also a great blocker. He’ll get his looks down the field for some catches too. The tight end is a key position come playoff time because of the mismatches they create all over the field. I’m expecting Hunter to have a nice impact in this game.

Ravens Player To Watch: Marlon Humphrey– He’ll hands his hands full with these Chargers receivers. He just always seems to be in the right spot at the right time to make a play. He’s capable of defending a number one receiver and handles his own. Don’t be surprised if you see him on Keenan Allen in this one.

FINAL ANALYSIS: When they met on December 22nd, I had no idea what direction this game would go in. The Chargers were back home after winning a huge game the week before in Kansas City and the Ravens entered on a roll themselves. It’s always tough for an east coast team to fly across the country to the west coast and win a game. Defense travels and that’s exactly what we saw then. The Chargers are road warriors. They’ve yet to lose on the road this season, their confidence will be high in this one because they feel they can beat anyone in their stadium (look what they did to Seattle earlier in the year and Kansas City last month). The Ravens along with the Colts are one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs. The Chargers will become the only team to have faced Lamar Jackson twice. Facts like that matter because they have tape on him. The Chargers need to keep Rivers protected because the Ravens blitz the second most in the NFL. The Chargers are formidable against the run, ranking in the top 10 with just 105.8 yards allowed per game. Jackson’s ability to improvise off broken passing plays makes it so much more difficult to defend the Ravens attack, so Los Angeles will have to be disciplined in corralling the quarterback. It’s key for Baltimore to keep the Chargers second guessing. Mix it up offensively and the defense will handle the rest.