It’s fair to say that both the Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers surprised the league with their opening week performances. The Ravens, who ran the ball more than any other team in the league last year, passed more than 40 times and stacked up over 500 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, on Monday night, the Chargers needed a last second drive by quarterback Phillip Rivers to beat a Raiders team that few expected to compete with SD. Sunday’s game in Southern California serves as a good test for both teams as they try to assert themselves as one of the NFL’s elite teams.
The story of the Ravens 38-24 win over the Chiefs was not the defense as it usually is, but it was the offense. Joe Flacco threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Todd Heap played well and helped Flacco in both blocking and in the passing game. Heap and Ravens trio of running backs will have to help Flacco this week if they want to win in San Diego. Todd Heap and Ray Rice could lessen the impact of defensive stalwarts Shawne Merriman and Shawn Phillips by providing a quick reliable hot read on blitzes
The San Diego Chargers looked rusty on Monday Night Football but they still have loads of talent on offense. Phillip Rivers has established himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the league and has a brand new contract to prove it. Antonio Gates is still one of the top 3 tight ends in the game, and Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are playmakers on the outside. However, with all the talent on the outside, much of the Ravens attention will be on who is, or whose not, in the backfield for the Chargers. Ladanian Tomlinson is nursing an anke injury but the electrifying Darren Sproales could cause problems if he is allowed room to run.
Game Time: 4:00pm
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, California
Key Matchup: Ray Lewis vs. Antonio Gates