Los Angeles Chargers: Three Keys Against the Baltimore Ravens

Here we go the first weekend of the 2018/2019 NFL Playoffs and the Los Angeles Chargers are visiting the AFC North Champions the Baltimore Raven for a Wildcard matchup in M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday at 1:05 pm ET. These 2 teams just played each other in week 16 at the Dignity Health Sports Park where the Chargers fell to the Ravens 22-10. Philip Rivers did not have a great day throwing for only 181 yards and 2 Interceptions, one of his worst showings of the season. However, that wasn’t playoff football and this week is, let’s have a look at what the Chargers need to do to win this game and move forward to meet the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs in the second round. Here are the three keys against the Ravens.

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Hit on the big play.

Hitting that big place can not only change the tide of the game but also give the offense the charge (pun intended) it needs to take the game where they couldn’t get it in week 16. Philip Rivers came close down the stretch this season barely missing Travis Benjamin on deep routes several times including twice against Baltimore in the last matchup. Getting that big strike would cause the Ravens defense to adjust. This will open up the run game and take some pressure off Keenan Allen and the Williams boys.

Offensive Line

In the Week 16 affair, Baltimore used a stunted slant pass rush approach. Hence, they were very successful at getting to Rivers. The offensive line complained that it felt like they were blocking “a half a man”. The offensive blocking scheme will have to take this into account in order to give Rivers the time to make the downfield throws, as well as open up the rushing lanes for Melvin Gordon. This may be the biggest key for the Chargers in winning this game.

Melvin Gordon

In the last meeting, Gordon had a pedestrian day rushing for 12 times for 41 yards and a TD. He also added 3 receptions for 13 yards. That didn’t get it done in week 16 and it won’t get it done on Sunday. Gordon will need to rush for 100 yards and score a TD or 2. This ties into the offensive line. They will need to block better for Gordon to even have a chance to get close to 100 yards.

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How do you feel about the Los Angeles Chargers heading into the 2018 Wildcard round? Leave a comment below.

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You can follow Stephen on twitter over @rendermann

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