Home » NFL Picks » Chargers To Crank Up Pressure On Chiefs

Chargers To Crank Up Pressure On Chiefs

December 20, 2018

The Los Angeles Chargers have a huge opportunity to crank up the pressure on the Kansas City Chiefs to take the number one seed in the AFC Conference when they take on the Baltimore Ravens.

The Chargers produced an outstanding performance last week to come back to defeat the Chiefs on the road. Anthony Lynn’s men trailed by 14 points going into the fourth quarter, but rallied even without a number of key players to score two touchdowns.

Los Angeles then put the result on the line to go for a two-point conversion rather than tying the game with an extra-point kick. Failure would have handed the game and the number one seed to the Chiefs. Philip Rivers continued his brilliant season by converting with a strike to Mike Williams to secure the victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

After earning their playoff berth last week, the Chargers can move ahead of Kansas City at the top of the AFC West and the AFC Conference itself by beating the Ravens on home soil. It’s an opportunity they have not had since the 2006 season.

However, Baltimore also need to win to ensure that they’re in the running for at least a spot in the Wildcard Round, although they move ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North with a victory. Given the teams that are in and around the sixth spot in the playoffs – it’s a huge game for John Harbaugh’s side.

Will Rivers lead the Chargers to the number one seed?

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are trending in the direction of the Super Bowl. At the moment they can claim to be the best team in the NFL. Rivers is playing at a higher level than any quarterback in the league, including Patrick Mahomes over the last month of the season. In the clutch moments of the contest he outduelled the 23-year-old on the road. Rivers’ performance was made more remarkable by the fact that the Chargers were missing their two starting running backs, while their star wideout Keenan Allen was forced out of the game early on after falling awkwardly. Mike Williams rose to the occasion, scoring three touchdowns and notching the two-point conversion to guide his team to the victory.

Los Angeles now have the same record as the Chiefs at the top of the AFC West, but Kansas City hold the tie-breaker that has knocked them down to the fifth seed. As a result, the Chargers need to have a better record than Andy Reid’s men to secure the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It has been 12 years since the Chargers last secured the top seed in the AFC and seven years since they hosted a playoff game. There is huge incentive for them to continue their winning and Lynn’s men have a solid formula for victory, although it will be tested by the Ravens. Baltimore have the best defense in the NFL and may limit Los Angeles’ rampant offense, which will require a more rounded effort from the Chargers to secure the win.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens bold decision to switch to quarterback Lamar Jackson over veteran Joe Flacco has saved their season. Jackson has provided impetus at the position that had stagnated with the 33-year-old at the helm of the offense. The former Louisville signal-caller provides a dual-threat from the backfield, throwing and running the ball that has added a new dimension to the offense. Since Jackson has entered the team, Baltimore have won four out of their last five matches, losing only once to the Chiefs in overtime on the road.

The 21-year-old has been solid throwing the ball downfield, but his true value to the team has been with his legs. Jackson has rushed for 566 yards on the campaign, including 95 in his side’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last time out. Gus Edwards has been a find for the Ravens’ offense along with Jackson. Edwards is a traditional running back and has impressed in his nine games this term, rushing for 550 yards and two touchdowns. It is the balanced attack that could bring success for Baltimore now and if they were the reach the playoffs.

Although the offense has been promising, it has not been a lot of points on the board. Baltimore have needed their defense to be outstanding this term. They’re the best defense in the NFL statistically, allowing only 290 yards and 18.1 points per game. Baltimore have been able to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks with regularity, while the veteran secondary shut down some of the most potent passing attacks in the NFL. Expect them to give Los Angeles a tough game.

Head to Head

Games Played: 11 Los Angeles Chargers: 5 Baltimore Ravens 6

The Ravens have edged the matchup between the teams, winning two of the last three contests. Baltimore pulled off one of the most notable wins in their history when they beat the Chargers in the 2012 campaign on the road. Harbaugh’s men needed to convert on fourth and 29 with the game on the line and managed to pull off the feat to allow them to kick a tying field goal before Justin Tucker secured the victory in overtime.

The victory was vital in earning the Ravens a playoff berth before they would late go on to win the Super Bowl. Converting plays like that suggest that it’s going to be your year. The last meeting between the teams was also decided by a field goal as Tucker kicked a 39-yard effort through the posts with no time left on the clock in the 2015 campaign. If history is anything to go by – this should be a close match.

Betting Options

The Chargers have been rolling of late, reeling off four wins on the bounce, including their impressive victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chiefs. Baltimore have the defense to limit Los Angeles’ offense, although the Chargers also have a strong defensive unit that will aim to hold Jackson and company in check.

It will be a tough slog for both teams, but Rivers and his team-mates will have just enough to edge out the win on home soil at odds of -220  with BetOnline. Games between the two teams have always been close therefore take the Ravens on the +2.5 spread at odds of 6/4  with 888Sport. The over/under line has been set at 44.5 points by TopBet, but given the quality of both defenses it would be advised to take the under at -110 .

Tips Summary

Los Angeles Chargers To Beat Baltimore Ravens
Saturday 22nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Sunday 23rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -220

Baltimore Ravens +2.5 Spread
Saturday 22nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Sunday 23rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 6/4

Under 44 Total Points To Be Scored
Saturday 22nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Sunday 23rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -110

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • NFL
  • Philip Rivers

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.