Week 12 of the NFL Season is upon us and the Baltimore Ravens will hit the road to sunny California to take on the San Diego Chargers. As in any game there are some key matchups to watch for, and this game is no different.
- Ravens Secondary vs Chargers Receivers – Although the Chargers are 4-6 this season, they present the Ravens with a terrible matchup as a depleted secondary is going to have find a way to grow. Ok, obviously I know that they cannot just simply grow, but they are going to have their hands full with two six foot five receivers in Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd as well as a six foot four TE Antonio Gates.
- Baltimore's red zone defense vs Chargers Red Zone offense – This one kind of goes hand in hand with the first key matchup, but Baltimore's one thing on defense they do very well is keep teams from scoring touchdowns in the red zone, and this will be key if Baltimore wants to leave sunny San Diego with a victory. Defending the Chargers' big receivers will be a challenge in the Red Zone, and San Diego has converted for a touchdown on 55.56% of their red zone trips over their last three games.
- Ravens offense vs the road – I know I harp on this almost every road game, but Baltimore's offense keeps giving us reasons to have to make this a key matchup. Last week in Pittsburgh, the Ravens only accumulated 200 total offensive yards, and Cam Cameron doesn't seem to be able to make adjustments on the road that allow his offense to move the ball down the field. If noise is the reason, this week should provide a nice break as San Diego still has over 9,000 tickets unsold and the game is blacked out in the San Diego markets. Baltimore fans are anxiously awaiting a good performance on the road by the Ravens offense, will this be the week?
- Baltimore's 3rd down offense vs San Diego's third down defense – The biggest glaring weakness for the Ravens offense has been their inability to convert on third downs, as they currently only convert 34.43% of their third downs, which is 23rd in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if Baltimore can take advantage of a Chargers defense that ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in opponents third down conversion percentage at 39.84%.
- Ravens Special Teams vs Ravens Offense – Last week, Baltimore's special teams unit out scored the Ravens offense, and if Baltimore wants to win this game (barring three kick returns for touchdowns) the offense is going to have to score more points than the special teams unit.
San Diego comes into the game having lost their last two, while Baltimore is riding a three game winning streak and the Ravens will look to maintain their two game lead in the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers and keep their grasp on the number two seed in the AFC.
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