LA Chargers (12-4) at Baltimore (10-6)
When: Sunday, January 6th, 2019
Where: M&T Bank Stadium,
Time: 1:05 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Baltimore -2.5/42
The Baltimore Ravens went to Los Angeles just a few weeks ago and won a big game against the Chargers to help propel them to an AFC North title and a trip back to the postseason. Now, the Ravens will get to host Philip Rivers and the Bolts for a first round AFC Wild Card game on Sunday afternoon despite finishing two games behind Los Angeles. That’s because the Chargers had the unfortunate luck of being in the same division as the Kansas City Chiefs, who also finished 12-4 but earned the AFC’s top seed based on a tiebreaker. The Chargers could have overtaken the Chiefs last week when they won 23-9 at Denver, but Kansas City had to lose against the Oakland Raiders, but that didn’t happen. Although Rivers is having a fine season, the veteran quarterback had a third straight two interception game Sunday. Fourth-seeded Baltimore is in the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and they really have the injury to starting QB Joe Flacco to thank for that. First round pick Lamar Jackson has taken over and guided the Ravens to a 6-1 finish with a new offense that is very run-heavy. The Ravens are 7-5 all-time against the Chargers, but this will be the first postseason matchup. Baltimore got the best of L.A. in Week 16 with a 22-10 upset win, as Jackson threw for 204 yards and a score and rushed for 39 yards, while Rivers had just 181 yards passing and two picks.
Despite the sluggish ending to the season, Rivers posted a passer rating of 105.5 while throwing for 4,308 with 32 touchdowns versus 12 interceptions, but had a season-low 181 yards versus Baltimore a few weeks ago. Running back Melvin Gordon says he’s much healthier than when he came back from injury in the Week 16 matchup and rushed for 41 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Keenan Allen is still the main man outside for Rivers, catching 97 balls for 1,196 yards, but the possible return of tight end Hunter Henry – sidelined since May with a torn ACL – could help the offense as well. The Chargers boast the ninth-best defense in both the pass and run and is led by Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, who combined for 12.5 sacks.
While Rivers had a season-low total versus Baltimore, Jackson had his best passing game in that one with 204 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, who held him to a rushing low of 39 yards. Running back Gus Edwards moved into the starting lineup at the same time as Jackson and had three 100-yard performances and 92 yards on 14 carries at Los Angeles. John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead are the leading receivers, but all have seen their production dip since the Ravens moved to a run-first attack. Baltimore features the league’s No. 1 overall defense, ranking fourth against the rush (82.9 yards), fifth versus the pass (210.0) and second in points allowed (17.9).
I really like Philip Rivers – always have – but this is a tough spot for him this week. He has struggled the past few weeks and did not look good at home versus the Ravens. Now he has to play in the cold against this ferocious defense. The offense seems real comfortable with Jackson running the show for the Ravens and I think they get the better of L.A. once again.
Pick: Ravens -3
- Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff road games.
- Chargers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games in January.
- Chargers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 playoff games.
- Chargers are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 road games.
- Chargers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf.
- Chargers are 16-7 ATS in their last 23 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Chargers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win.
- Ravens are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 playoff games.
- Ravens are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Wildcard games.
- Ravens are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games in January.
- Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Ravens are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Ravens are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Ravens are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Ravens are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on fieldturf.
- Under is 4-0 in Chargers last 4 Wildcard games.
- Under is 4-0 in Chargers last 4 games on fieldturf.
- Over is 4-0 in Chargers last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 5-1 in Chargers last 6 playoff games.
- Under is 5-1 in Chargers last 6 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 8-3 in Chargers last 11 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 10-4-1 in Chargers last 15 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Under is 20-8 in Chargers last 28 vs. AFC.
- Under is 7-3 in Chargers last 10 games overall.
- Under is 35-15-1 in Chargers last 51 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 17-8 in Chargers last 25 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Under is 5-0 in Ravens last 5 playoff home games.
- Under is 6-1-1 in Ravens last 8 Wildcard games.
- Under is 5-1 in Ravens last 6 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Over is 4-1 in Ravens last 5 vs. AFC.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Ravens last 5 playoff games.
- Under is 6-2-1 in Ravens last 9 games in January.
- Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
- Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
- Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.