With the NFL playoff race tightening, there are quite a few games in Week 16 that can make a marked impact on seeding and whether or not certain teams get a berth.
The most are in the AFC. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans are all jockeying for their place in the AFC postseason. One of the most significant games this weekend is the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens. The best sportsbook online has listed the Chargers as -4 favorites for their return to StubHub Center. However, the Ravens desperately need this win.
This is one of those games that affects the rest of the teams that are vying for their own playoff spots, regardless of the outcome. If the Baltimore Ravens win, they have a shot at keeping their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers from the AFC North Title. The Ravens can also keep the Titans and Colts out of the postseason with a win in Los Angeles and a Chargers loss would help the Kansas City Chiefs clinch the first round bye, and home-field advantage if the Texans also lost or tied.
If the Ravens lose, it opens the door for both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, who are both heavy favorites in their homes games this weekend. It also allows the Steelers to clinch and makes life slightly more difficult for the Chiefs.
The Los Angeles Chargers beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead in the most epic fashion. But even so, the public likes the Ravens to keep this game close. Vegas opened this game with the Chargers as two field goal favorites but the point spread has already been pushed down to just four.
To make matters more interesting, the Chargers have been playing much better on the road this year than at home. In fact, they have only covered the point spread twice in seven home games. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, love to cover on the highway. They have covered the point spread in seven of their last ten road games. So, are the Chargers in a let down position?
Philip Rivers and his prolific offense puts up 28 points per game at home. This will go against the Ravens 21.4 points per game on the road. That said, over the last four or five games, the Ravens have shown new signs of life with their young rookie behind center. But this game could come down to defense. And the Ravens have plenty of it. They are the No. 1 overall defense in the league. And on the road, they are the 4th best scoring defense with the No. 1 run ‘D’. The Chargers are rated No. 24 in rushing, so we can look for the Ravens to completely shut-down that aspect of the Chargers offense.
Three yards per play. That is all the Ravens allow while on the road. But this game is going to come down to the Ravens’ No. 8 passing defense (while away) verse the Chargers No. 5 home passing offense.
Seeing how such a great run defense will be going against such a poor running attack, the Ravens will be able to focus their efforts on stopping the pass. We should expect Rivers to still be Rivers, but he won’t get the same kind of yardage that he normally does at home, and that is the grueling truth.
The Ravens are going put forth the game of a lifetime and cover the point spread. We could see this game come down to a field goal.
Take the Ravens as underdogs to cover +4.5