In the second edition of Saturday night, the Los Angeles Chargers will take on the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup that has huge playoff implications for both squads. For Los Angeles, they absolutely need to win if they want to have any chance at winning the division and clinching a first-round bye. And for the Ravens, they are currently in a three-way tie for the sixth seed and need this win to stay in the playoff picture and have at chance at controlling their own destiny in week 17. So with that much on the line, we can expect to see an extremely competitive game with both coaches emptying every trick left up their sleeve. Here are three things to watch for:

Lamar Jackson

Through three starts, Lamar Jackson is averaging 85.4 rushing yards per game. Granted he was going against some terrible run defenses in those games but it’s still very impressive to watch a quarterback put up rushing stats that most running backs fail to achieve. And in years past, the Chargers have infamously struggled against running quarterbacks. However, that hasn’t been the case this year. Currently ranked ninth in rushing yards allowed per game, Los Angeles has been able to keep scramblers such as Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota in check.


And the reason Lamar’s running is so important is because his passing hasn’t quite come along yet. Through five games as a starter, Jackson has amounted 731 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions, and has yet to throw over 200 yards in a single game. And whenever you’re going up against a mobile-first quarterback, the gameplan should always be to keep them contained in the pocket and force them to make plays with their arm rather than their feet. This strategy will hopefully apply for the Chargers Saturday night.

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Melvin Gordon

In his first game back from a knee injury that cost him three full weeks, Melvin Gordon‘s welcome back gift is the best defensive team in the league. Ranked third in rush defense, Baltimore allows just over 87 rushing yards per game. And considering he hasn’t played in three weeks, one would imagine that Gordon will have some rust to shake off. But he’s going to need to shake it off quickly. The Chargers are undefeated when Gordon runs for 100+ yards and if they are going to win, the run attack needs to be active and threatening Baltimore at all times.


And with no Ekeler, Melvin will be taking a bigger role than usual alongside Justin Jackson. However, as we have seen all season, even if Baltimore stuffs Gordon at the line of scrimmage, they are going to have to worry about him in the passing game as Gordon has collected 453 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the season. Ultimately, I anticipate this game to be a dogfight sort of football game. And in that games, the more potent run attack usually finishes on top.

Philip Rivers

With last weeks 313 yard, two touchdown comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs, many have thrusted Philip Rivers into the MVP discussion and his chances will only increase if he is able to lead the Chargers to a division title and enter the playoffs as the first seed. And as I said earlier, this is a crucial match that, essentially, could decide whether or not the Chargers get that first round bye.

And if Rivers is able to have a great game against the best defense in the league (Baltimore) and Mahomes travels to Seattle and struggles, Rivers would potentially be planted as the MVP frontrunner with a chance to close the discussion out in week 17 against the Denver Broncos. But it starts with tomorrow. Although I believe it will be a dogfight type of game with a run-heavy physique, Rivers could easily turn this into a clinic and have another 300+ yards and multiple touchdown performance.

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