Baltimore woke up in time to pull out a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and keep their playoff and division title hopes alive. Winning games when you’re not playing your best is the mark of a talented team.
But the Ravens will do well to bring their “A” game this week if they are to have a chance of beating the rolling Los Angeles Chargers.
Philip Rivers marched into Kansas City last week and moved his team into a virtual tie with the Chiefs atop the AFC West by not only scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns but by connecting on a last-minute two-point conversion for the win.
Eschewing the tie and a chance to win in overtime might not sound like a smart strategy, but it kept the high-flying Chiefs’ offense off the field and could turn out to be the catalyst that propels the Chargers all the way to the Super Bowl.
Despite all that, the Chargers could end up playing a wild-card game on the road with a 13-3 record. The Chiefs own the tiebreaker and a hold of the title.
Baltimore is a half-game back of the Steelers (who play the Saints this week) for the AFC North title and own tiebreakers among the trio of 8-6 teams trying to nail down a wild-card slot. The Chargers can’t eliminate the Ravens, but a Baltimore loss could put a serious damper on their postseason aspirations.
Injuries and notes
Melvin Gordon took in a full practice and looks ready to suit up Sunday. Austin Ekeler (neck stinger) sat out practice, as did wide receiver Keenan Allen (hip). X-rays discovered no structural damage after Allen landed on his butt after a non-catch in the end zone.
Ravens tight end Nick Boyle did not practice as he goes through the concussion protocol.
Baltimore sportswriters continue to entertain the notion that John Harbaugh will be swept up in an offseason overhaul of Raven’s front office. The team was motivated to make the playoffs in what could be Harbaugh’s and quarterback Joe Flacco’s last season in Maryland. Harbaugh and the Ravens have their work cut out for them with the toughest schedule among the wild-card competitors and the Steelers.
Anthony Lynn delivered on preseason predictions of a playoff run and a title challenge. The Chiefs and Rams kept the Chargers flying under the radar most of the season, but with victories in Pittsburgh and Kansas City during their current 4-game winning streak, no one will take the Chargers lightly as a Super Bowl contender.
How to watch the Chargers-Ravens game
Cable and satellite TV subscribers whose expensive contracts don’t include the NFL Network could be scrambling to find the game as the league’s television venture owns exclusive rights to this Saturday night game.
We suggest you watch the live stream action for free on DirecTV Now or Sling TV. These leading internet TV companies offer no-obligation trial periods you can take advantage of in time to catch all of Saturday’s action.
Fubo TV is another internet provider with free trial periods. Each of these companies offers local and national networks in their basic monthly contracts that let you follow the NFL right through the playoffs.
Fubo TV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now would love to let you watch this week’s action for free. Then they hope you will also take some time to peruse the rest of the movie and entertainment channels they offer.
See why so many people are saving hundreds of dollars per year by switching to internet television while enjoying a no-obligation week of Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, or Sling TV.
Who will win the Chargers-Ravens game?
Week-to-week, the Chargers have played without their top tight end, wide receiver, running back, or defenders and it just hasn’t mattered. Baltimore’s defense has risen to the occasion at times, but are not as tough on the road. Baltimore will need help next week to make the playoffs.