Ravens Must Protect Flacco In Order To Improve Offense On The Road
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By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens will match up against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Here’s the scouting report.
San Diego Chargers’ record: (4-7-0) 2nd place in AFC West
A few years ago, many thought Phillip Rivers was one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Coming into this meeting against Baltimore, pundits are starting to pull away from that assessment. The San Diego Chargers will face a huge test when they line up against a Ravens’ defense that has steadily improved over the last few weeks. That doesn’t bode well for Rivers, who has made a habit of turning the ball over on a game by game basis. Currently, Rivers is second in the NFL with 14 interceptions thrown this year. Against an opportunistic defense like Baltimore, turning the ball over will most likely cost them the game. The Ravens’ defense has holes in the secondary. But if the Chargers want to play it safe, they’ll focus on getting the ball in the hands of Ryan Matthews.
Though the Ravens’ defense has been stellar the past few weeks, Baltimore has still given up over a 100 yards rushing on a consistent basis. The Chargers may look to control the tempo and keep turnovers to a minimum by running the football a majority of the game. If this is their gameplan, Baltimore will need to do a much better job of containing Matthews as their offense has struggled on the road this year.
Ravens fans won’t soon forget the 34-14 thrashing Baltimore took by the hands of San Diego last season. And neither will the Ravens. The defense manhandled the Ravens offense with relentless pressure on Joe Flacco. This was led by former Raven Antwan Barnes who recorded four sacks on the day. One of the reasons Baltimore struggles on the road is due to speed rushers on the outside. They’ll have to focus on keeping Joe Flacco clean if they want to come away with the victory. San Diego will look to duplicate on the success they had last season. Their focus however, will be on containing Ray Rice.
Ray Rice has had his number called considerably on the road. The Ravens are aware of their poor pass protection, and look to Rice to keep the defense honest. Cam Cameron has a reputation of giving up on the run early. That will give the 3rd ranked defense of the Chargers added motivation to shut Rice down. If they can do that, Cameron may put the ball in the hands of Joe Flacco. This may play right into the hands of the Chargers defense.
Norv Turner and John Harbaugh have faced off just twice. They’ve split their meetings at one game a piece. Turner is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL and will look to take advantage of a Ravens defense that has lost some of its luster. The Chargers and Ravens split their All-Time record against each other at 4-4. They are also dead even in points scored against each other at 153-153.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.