On Sunday (at a special 4:05 pm time, CBS) the Ravens will play the Chargers in San Diego, again.
Yes, the Ravens were just in San Diego almost a year ago (December 18th) and have returned to play again. In that game, the Ravens came in with a 10-3 record and were blown out in a 34-14 game. However, this game has the making of a good revenge tale.
While last year the Chargers were also under .500 in their record as they are currently, what kept their spirits alive was that there was no other dominant AFC West team. Now with Peyton Manning in Denver and following their disheartening 30-23 loss at Denver last week, San Diego has little chance of catching up for the division title.
Many sports writers are picking this game as an upset against the Ravens, although the Ravens have a lot going for them, both historically and recently.
Phillip Rivers hasn’t been his normal self, for example. He leads the league in throwing 14 interceptions, which go along with 3 lost fumbles. Also, less notice has been given to his receiving corps, which vacated Vincent Jackson before the season and Antonio Gates is only getting older.
The offensive line has been either injured or incompetent in keeping Rivers upright in the pocket. They have allowed 26 sacks on Rivers this year. Now their replacement Left Tackle, in for Jared Gaither (former Raven), has been on the receiving end for criticism in his blocking. He’ll likely get even more pressure since Terrell Suggs will line up across from him.
We will get to see our former player Jarret Johnson in this game, who played for the Ravens his previous 9 seasons and started 129 games in a row for us. Paul Kruger is starting to really fill in the void left by JJ’s departure. Thankfully his previous knowledge of our defense will not have too much impact, as our unit hasn’t done so well anyway.
What I really like about this game is all of the intangibles related to the Chargers-Ravens. Last year, the Ravens were on a 4-game winning streak before losing in San Diego; right now they have a 3-game winning streak. Yes, the Chargers have beaten us two of the last three times, but the all-time record between the two clubs is tied at 9-9.
Also, there is the notion of NFL parity, where any club can beat anybody at anytime, no matter the circumstances. This parity tends to be very prevalent when at the same time sports writers/media have linear/predetermined thoughts on game outcomes, owing to recent team history. Which is why I feel confident of the Ravens chances in this game, despite it being a road game where the Ravens have been scoring less than half as many points on average than at home.
Anything is possible, which is why the NFL is still #1 in this country.
P.S. The Lions’ chances were shafted with that 80 yard no-whistle-made, not reviewed touchdown. Expect rule changes soon.