NFL Sunday Picks: San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

Steve Smith has 588 receiving yards on the season, leading the Ravens.
Steve Smith has 588 receiving yards on the season, leading the Ravens.

San Diego Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens
Spread: BAL -3
M/L: BAL -180; SD +160
O/U: 51

Betting odds c/o Bovada

The Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers are both riding three-game losing streaks and will look to put an end it it in NFL action on CBS at Noon (ET). NFL oddsmakers set the line 3-points in favor of the 1-6 Ravens who are 0-2 at home this season.

Neither team has even an average defense, which could make this a high scoring somehow exciting showdown between two bad football teams.

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Both QBs have tenure with their respective teams, with Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco the two longest-tenured QBs in the league along with Eli Manning. Both Rivers and Flacco have had tough, high-usage seasons with Rivers already having attempted 209 passes just in his past four games. That is the most by a Super Bowl era QB in four games.

Rivers does lead the NFL is passing yardage (2,452) and he is on pace to fall just shy of Peyton Manning’s single season record. Even so, his Chargers are just 2-5 and fell behind the Oakland Raiders 30-6 at the half before losing the game by eight. It marked the team’s first three-game skid since 2012, but the Chargers have lost eight of 11 dating int last season. The Chargers are also tied for last place in the AFC West.

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Coach Mike McCoy said of the effort against Oakland, “We got outplayed and outreached in the first half. It is very difficult to have success when you start the game like we did, whether it’s turnovers or giving up seven straight scores…we’re not going to sit around and dwell on this.”

Whether McCoy and the Chargers dwell on it or not, it is not going to fix itself, either. The Chargers are allowing 28.3 points per game, ranking the team No. 27 in the NFL, and it is allowing an average of 6.5 yards per play, which is the worst in the league.

Baltimore lost 26-18 to Arizona on Monday night, and all of the Ravens’ losses have come by eight points or fewer this season. Considering the fact that the Ravens were still a chic pick by some to make this year’s Super Bowl, the 1-6 start is a pretty rude reminder that sometimes a team having a good defense is not even enough to make it passably good.

HC John Harbaugh said that “A lot of teams would fold in this situation…that’s not going to happen. We will be writing the story and it’s going to be a really interesting story to read.” It already is interesting, just not the kind of interesting Harbaugh will like.

The Ravens are caught in a mid-season funk already but the hole is a bit big to dig out of so easily. The Ravens’ defense is not as phenomenal as typical for starters, and the Ravens gave up 414 yards to Arizona which was already the fourth time this season it gave up over 400 yards.

That happened just five times over the previous two seasons. Baltimore ranks No. 26 while giving up 5.9 yards per play, and last season the mark was 5.2 per. The Ravens are also in the midst of a long road streak that has seen the team play five road games in seven, with three of those being West coast games.

Working in the Ravens favor is that its next three games are against teams with a combined 7-13 record, and also that Baltimore has typically fared well in Nov. under Harbaugh. He has led them to a 12-2 mark in Nov since 2008. Baltimore also has not lost four straight since Dec of 2007.

San Diego QB Rivers has averaged 329.3 passing yards in his last four meetings against Baltimore and the Chargers won 34-33 on the road to even the all-time series at 5-5.

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