The Chatter

Playoff Picture: Ravens Can Leapfrog Chargers With Win

San Diego currently has a hold on second AFC wild-card slot.

By Ron Cassie | November 28, 2014, 3:39 pm

-Sports Ilustrated
The Chatter

Playoff Picture: Ravens Can Leapfrog Chargers With Win

San Diego currently has a hold on second AFC wild-card slot.

By Ron Cassie | November 28, 2014, 3:39 pm

-Sports Ilustrated

It's not often Baltimore and San Diego get lumped together, but at least on the football field both cities share some remarkable commonalities. Both teams, for example, are 7-4, albeit with San Diego currently possessing an edge in the NFL's playoff tie-breaker rules. Both teams are led by durable veteran quarterbacks with remarkably similar stats this year—Charger QB Philip Rivers has thrown for exactly two more yards and one more touchdown than Joe Flacco.

Defensively, both teams are strong as well, with San Diego ranked ahead of Baltimore, at 8th in the NFL in total offensive yardage allowed. Although, the Ravens (18.9) allow slightly fewer points per game than the Chargers (19.6).

So, here's the key difference as the weather turns cold and the winter winds howl and the grind for the playoffs shakes out in late November and December: The Ravens rank 5th in run defense while San Diego comes in at 13. Offensively, the running numbers are more stark: The Ravens, led by Justin Forsett, rank 7th in the NFL in rushing offense while San Diego comes in at 27th.

Potentially, that translates into another big day from Justin Forsett (good interview here) this Sunday on the heels of his career-best, 182-yard rushing game in New Orleans on Monday night. A journeyman, third-string back coming into this season, Forsett has displayed tremendous patience and cut-back running instincts behind new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's beloved zone-blocking scheme. In fact, Forsett's averaging 5.8 yards per carry to date—far and away the top mark among leading NFL running backs—and is the main reason we think we are headed back to the playoffs and not San Diego.

Then again, Chargers fans can lay on the beach in January if their team doesn't make the playoffs. So there's that.




Meet The Author

Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life.



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