Will Rivers lead the Chargers to victory?

Chargers To Advance With Revenge Win Over Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens and the Los Angeles Chargers face off for the second time in three weeks in the second AFC Wildcard Round contest at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens got the better of Los Angeles to deny them the number one seed in the AFC Conference, forcing Anthony Lynn’s men into the first round of the post-season.

Baltimore improved significantly in the second half of the campaign after installing Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback. Jackson ousted veteran Joe Flacco from the position and brought life to a stagnant offense, winning six of his seven matches to end the term.

The Ravens only defeat with Jackson as the starter came at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in overtime. John Harbaugh’s side are a dangerous team and have already proven their calibre by snatching the AFC North crown away from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Los Angeles will feel aggrieved that a 12-win campaign was only good enough for the fifth seed. Their loss to the Ravens loomed large, with Antonio Gates committing a costly fumble in the fourth quarter. However, the Chargers played extremely well on the road and will not fear playing Baltimore for a second time – on this occasion without the errors.

Will Rivers lead the Chargers to victory?

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens came to life in the second half of the season, dragging themselves into playoffs with a fine run of form. Harbaugh was under pressure after three years of mediocrity, but his team responded after he made the decision to move forward with Jackson.

Flacco brought the Ravens success in the 2012 campaign, winning the Super Bowl with a brilliant stretch of form in the post-season. However, since he signed his lucrative contract extension, he has failed to live up to expectations and his hip injury allowed Baltimore to move on.

Jackson has provided impetus at the position, although the club have been forced to adjust their style of offense. The 21-year-old does not provide a threat throwing the ball deep downfield. Instead he has used his feet to great effect, while rookie running back Gus Edwards has also been outstanding rushing the ball. The duo have to be flawless against the Chargers as there is little margin for error, with Jackson becoming the youngest quarterback to start in the post-season.

Baltimore have the one of the best defenses in the NFL. They were able to put the clamps on Philip Rivers and company in their contest two weeks ago, producing the vital turnover at the end of the game as Tony Jefferson ran in the scoop and score. Jefferson, Eric Weddle, Jimmy Smith and Terrell Suggs will need to operate at the peak of their powers to stymie Los Angeles again.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers will be annoyed with their inability to secure the number one seed. They played well enough over the course of the campaign, but their early defeats to the Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams, along with losses to the Denver Broncos and the Ravens have forced them into Wildcard weekend.

The defeat to the Broncos was the most damaging given Denver’s poor performance in the 2018 season. If Rivers is to reach his first Super Bowl, he and his team-mates will have to do it the hard way by winning three games on the road. It has been done in the past with the Green Bay Packers achieving the feat in the 2010 campaign.

The Chargers have used a potential weakness to their advantage as their home stadium as often been filled by opposition supporters. Los Angeles were a strong road team, claiming wins over the Steelers, Seahawks and Chiefs.

They will not be intimidated by the atmosphere and Rivers has the quality and the experience to lead his team to victory. The quarterback has been in fine form this term, but has to avoid costly turnovers, committing six interceptions in the final three games of the campaign. Los Angeles have talented players and they have to come to the fore to support their quarterback in Baltimore.

Head to Head

Games Played: 12 Baltimore Ravens: 7 Los Angeles Chargers: 5

The Ravens have won the last two meetings between the sides, including their triumph two weeks ago. They have never played each other in the post-season, which is surprising given both teams’ strong history of solid performances in the AFC Conference since Baltimore’s formation in 1996.

The Chargers did record a victory on their visit to M&T Bank Stadium in 2014 as Rivers led a game-winning drive in the final minutes to secure a one-point triumph for his team.

Match Betting Options

Although the Ravens won the contest between the two sides in December expect a reaction from the Chargers in the Wildcard Round. Their experience will make the difference as will the presence of running Melvin Gordon, who should be back to full fitness. Jackson has shown promise, but his inability to make throws downfield will cost his team as running alone will not get the job done.

Rivers has been off colour over the last few weeks, but back him to lead the Chargers into the Divisional Round at odds of +125   with TopBet. Cover the bases by taking Los Angeles on a +1 handicap at odds of +114   with 888Sport in what could be a close contest at M&T Bank Stadium.

There shouldn’t be a lot of points scored given the 22-10 victory for the Ravens last time out. The scoreline could be reversed so take the under on 41.5 total points at Bovada at -105 . Defense and special teams will be important and like Jefferson’s score in the last game it could decide the result, take TopBet‘s punt of +180   for a score from either side.

Player Betting Options

Jackson has been active in the redzone for his team over the final eight weeks of the campaign. The 21-year-old scored five touchdowns in the regular season, back him at odds of +100   with Bet365. Mike Williams was an important player for the Chargers down the stretch, scoring three times in their win over the Chiefs.

Rivers will have to go to secondary targets to beat the Ravens so back the wideout to notch a touchdown anytime at odds of +225   with Bet365. Keenan Allen will be active in the passing game for the Chargers and he could rack up the most receiving yards in the Wildcard Round at odds of +350 , while Rivers could do the same with passing yards at +350   both at BetOnline.

Tips Summary

Los Angeles Chargers To Beat Baltimore Ravens
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +125

Los Angeles Chargers +1 Spread
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +114

Under 41.5 Total Points To Be Scored
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: -105

Defensive Or Special Teams Touchdown To Be Scored
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +180

Lamar Jackson To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +100

Mike Williams To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +225

Keenan Allen To Lead Wildcard Round In Receiving Yards
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +350

Philip Rivers To Lead Wildcard Round In Passing Yards
Sunday 6th January 2019 13:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
Odds: +350

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