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Week 2: Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers


Week 2: Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers

Sunday September 20, 2009 4:15 PM

Line: Ravens -3

Last week, the Baltimore Ravens came out all guns blazing against the overmatched Kansas City Chiefs. Despite their new found offensive fire power, the Chiefs managed to surprise the Ravens and hang around late into the 4th Quarter due to a series of miscues from all facets of the game plan. In the end the Ravens proved to be too much for the hapless Chiefs, rolling to a 38-24 victory.

This Sunday the Ravens must travel to the west coast and take on the streaky, injured plagued San Diego Chargers. This game should prove to act as an early season barometer for both teams. Who is the early contender, and who is perhaps a bit over hyped?

To be clear the Chiefs are not the Chargers. Despite the injuries, the Chargers are still a team loaded with talent. Even though LaDainian Tomlinson is out with a bum ankle, Darren Sproles is a speedy dangerous back, much like Ray Rice… With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Ravens Gab keys to the game.

Keys to the Game:

Shutdown Sproles

The Ravens love to sing the praises of Ray Rice, but they’re not the only ones with a diminutive young running back. With Tomlinson out this week due to injury, Darren Sproles will likely be receiving most if not all of the Chargers touches on the ground. Tiny and incredibly quick, Sproles can be difficult to tackle, and is adept at using his size to hide behind blockers and cut into open space. In order to beat the Chargers, the Ravens will have to take Sproles out of the equation and not allow him to scamper for extended yards.

Keep Rivers In Check

Young, strong armed, unflappable. You think I’m talking about Joe Flacco? Well I hate to disappoint, but Phillip Rivers is going to be a hard test against a revamped Ravens secondary. With a rocket arm, and a cool demeanor on the field, Rivers has the ability to torch opponents with precision passes and long deep throws down the sidelines. If the Ravens don’t get to Rivers early, he could bring a lot of pain.

Exploit the Injuries

The Chargers are looking to be pretty banged up going into tomorrow’s matchup. To win this game the Ravens have to take advantage. This means a lot of all out blitzes to collapse the injury deprived offensive line, and a lot of deep throws from Flacco to wear out the wounded defense. There’s blood in the water, and the Ravens will have to capitalize. The injuries to the Chargers are perhaps the number one reason why the Ravens are favored by three on the road, playing on the west coast (where they have traditionally faired very poorly).

Bury Antonio Gates

Of all the weapons Phillip Rivers has at his command, perhaps the most dangerous for the ravens is Antonio Gates. It seems that every time the Ravens face off against the premier tight end, he cuts them up for significant yard and one if not several touchdowns. With Tomlinson out on Sunday, look to Rivers to throw early and often, and look for gates to be his primary target. If the Ravens are going to win at Qualcomm (where the Chargers enjoy one of the best home record in the league), step one will be locking onto Gates early and keeping him out of the game plan.

Ravens Gab Predictions:

Jonathon Scruggs

The Chargers will certainly bring a much harder challenge for the Raves than the Chiefs did. This is a team loaded with potential who can hurt you a number of ways. Despite being hobbled this week, the Chargers can and will blow you out if you let them. However, after a narrow hard fought battle over the Chiefs, I just don’t see the Ravens letting up that easily.

Ravens 21 — Chargers 17

Matt Jergensen

The first of many tests of the 2009 season comes this weekend in San Diego.

The Chargers are beat up and broken down on the offensive line and Tomlinson looks like a no go for Sunday. The key for Baltimore will be pressure on Phillip Rivers. He may be a hothead but he can throw the football and I don’t like the corner matchup against Vincent Jackson. Antonio Gates can still run wild if you let him. So, I hope Mattison dials up a few blitzes to confuse the patchwork line.

The Raven offense should be a good mix of Flacco and the ground game. As long as they stay away from turnovers Baltimore will stay classy in Qualcomm.

Ravens 21 – Chargers 17

Gene Winner

Don’t get caught up in the hype fans. The Ravens still have a top defense and the Chargers who were ranked near the bottom in defense last year are still trying to find their identity. Our offensive line will take over this game. Ravens Win!

Ravens 34 – Chargers 17.

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One Response to “Week 2: Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers”

  1. […] a 72-inch water main break that sent flooding water throughout the streets and into homes Friday. Week 2: Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers » Ravens Gab – 09/19/2009 Week 2: Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers Sunday September […]

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