Preview: Ravens Look to Make a Statement as They Face Off Against the Los Angeles Chargers
The Ravens have been no stranger to instant classics so far this season. Whether it be the back and forth come from behind win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Justin Tucker’s 66-yard field goal against the Lions, or last Monday night’s thrilling 19-point comeback against Indianapolis. This Sunday is likely to be added to the list, as the Ravens welcome in the Los Angeles Chargers and their young rising star in Justin Herbert.
The Ravens and Chargers currently sit tied atop the AFC conference standings, and a win this week will go a long way later in the season as both teams are expected to be battling for the number one seed and bye in the AFC by the end of the season.
Rashod Bateman To Make Season Debut
Rookie first round receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to make his season debut on Sunday after being out since August. Bateman missed most of training camp after going down with a groin injury forcing the young receiver to have surgery before he even played an NFL game. With Sammy Watkins status for Sunday unknown as he deals with a hamstring injury that knocked him out of Monday night’s game. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense will be looking for another reliable playmaking receiver as they will look to keep up with the Chargers.
The amount in which Bateman is going to play is unknown, and will vary depending on the flow of the game. The Ravens coaches, while they have been pleased with Bateman’s progress will likely monitor his snaps to avoid any further injury as Bateman gets back into game shape as the season rolls on. While we won’t see Bateman at full go against the Chargers it is a good first step getting him on the field for the first time in and actual NFL game.
Ravens Secondary Vs. Justin Herbert
Going into most seasons one thing that could always be relied on for the Ravens was their defense. But through five weeks this Ravens defense has been one the worst in the NFL giving up an average of 389 yards per game. After giving up 402 yards passing to Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz on Monday night. The Ravens secondary will have one of its toughest challenges Sunday as it faces Charger quarterback Justin Herbert who currently sits fourth in the NFL with 1,576 yards passing.
Ravens cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Marlon Humphrey will have their work cut out for them all day as they go up against two of the top receivers in the NFL this season in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Williams leads the Chargers in receiving with 31 catches for 471 yards and six touchdowns. The Chargers who currently have the seventh ranked offense in the NFL, averaging 28 points per game has the ability to score on any play. The Chargers will look to impose their will against this Ravens defense and it will be up to Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to come up with a game plan to slow this explosive Chargers offense.
Sundays game is expected to have a lot of offensive fireworks, as both the Ravens and Chargers have two of the most explosive and dynamic offenses in the NFL. Many experts believe this game is going to see a lot of points scored on both sides and that neither offense will have too much trouble moving the ball up and down the field. I am one that agrees that Sunday will be an offensive showcase, both offenses are lead by MVP caliber quarterbacks that are playing as well as anyone through six weeks. But more importantly both the Ravens and Chargers are struggling to stop anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Both teams sit in the bottom half of the league in defense with the Ravens ranked 24th, and the Chargers ranked 19th. Both the Ravens and Chargers are giving up around 24 points per game, and its likely that both defenses will give up more than 24 points on Sunday.
I see the Ravens coming out with a lot of energy similar to when they faced the Kansas City Chiefs in week two. The Ravens know the importance of this game and I think for the first time all season the Ravens and their offense will get off to a faster start being able to pass as well as run the ball at will and scoring on their first drive, something that hasn’t been done all season. The Ravens defense will struggle as Justin Herbert will have time in the pocket to find his Pro Bowl receivers, Williams and Allen. This game will come down to who has the ball last and I predict a close but high scoring win for the Ravens 45-41.
Line: Baltimore -2.5
All-Time Record: Ravens lead series 7-6
Last Meeting: 1/6/19 Chargers 23-17