Ravens at Chargers -- Week 12

Where: Qualcomm Field, San Diego (grass, outdoors)

When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS, blacked out locally)

Spread: Ravens by 1.5

Forecast: Clear skies with a temperature in the high 60s.

Records: Ravens (Overall: 8-2, AFC North: 4-0); Chargers (Overall: 4-6, AFC West: 3-2)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Dec. 18, 2011: Chargers 34, Ravens 14; Sept. 20, 2009: Ravens 31, Chargers 26. Series record: The all-time series is tied 4-4. The Chargers are 4-2 in games played in San Diego.

What matters: The Chargers basically conceded the AFC West to the Broncos (6-4) with their 30-23 loss to Denver last Sunday. Now any hopes of making the playoffs are pinned on capturing a wild card. San Diego is currently behind the Steelers (6-4), Colts (6-4) and Bengals (5-5) for the two wild card seats. The Chargers remain in striking distance because the Bengals and Steelers are next up on the schedule, but the Bolts can ill afford to lose any more games. Going into the season it was well understood that coach Norv Turner and perhaps general manager A.J. Smith would be fired if the Chargers didn’t make the postseason. Put it all together and this is a near must-win game for the immediate and long-term future of the franchise.

Who matters: QB Philip Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions. He is now on pace to throw 22 picks this season, two more than his career high of 20 INTs in 2011. Rivers seemingly cannot avoid making at least one bad decision per game. He will need to protect the football this week for the Chargers to win because the Ravens offense is more than capable of taking advantage of opportunities created by turnovers.

Key matchups: The Chargers O-line vs. the Ravens pass rush: Starting LT Jared Gaither (groin) was placed on the reserved-injured list on Friday and starting LG Tyronne Green (hamstring) hasn't practiced this week and is listed as doubtful. LT Mike Harris (undrafted, UCLA) and RG Rex Hadnot will likely start in their place. The O-line was dreadful last Sunday against the Broncos and gave up four sacks for 34 yards. The Broncos lead the league with 35 sacks. The Ravens offer a formidable defense but have only recorded 19 sacks (ranked 22nd). OLB Terrell Suggs led the AFC with 14 sacks in 2011. Suggs has only one sack this season, but he missed the first six weeks recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered last April. Backup OLB Paul Kruger leads the Ravens with 4.5 sacks. ... Chargers D-line vs. RB Ray Rice: The Chargers defense is ranked third against the run (89.9 yards per game). Rice has averaged 4.3 yards per carry with 697 rushing yards and seven TDs this season. ... Chargers secondary vs. Ravens receivers: The Chargers defense is ranked 17th against the pass (228.5 yards per game) and has struggled at times to prevent the big play. QB Joe Flacco has 26 completions for 25 yards or longer, ranked second behind Peyton Manning (27). Flacco has averaged 12.1 yards per completion (ranked sixth). Three-time Pro Bowl WR Anquan Boldin leads the Ravens with 627 receiving yards and one TD. WR Torrey Smith has 555 receiving yards and seven TDs. Smith has averaged 17.3 yards per catch, fifth highest in the NFL.

Injuries of note: San Diego -- Out: OLB Larry English and WR Eddie Royal. Doubtful: LG Tyronne Green (hamstring) and TE Dante Rosario (hamstring). For Baltimore -- Out: CB Jimmy Smith (sports hernia surgery). Doubtful: CB Chris Johnson (hamstring).

Inside stuff: LT Mike Harris and RG Rex Hadnot have worked with the first-team all week.

Connections: The Chargers have five active players that once played for the Ravens: OLB Johnson, OLB Barnes, FB Le'Ron McClain, DT Aubrayo Franklin and CB Chris Carr. Ravens OC Cam Cameron served in the same position in San Diego from 2002-2006.

Stat you should know: WR Danario Alexander, who was signed on Oct. 22., has 15 receptions for 291 yards and three TDs in just three games with the Chargers.

Record watch: TE Antonio Gates (80) needs one touchdown catch to match WR Lance Alworth (81) for the franchise record. OLB Shaun Phillips has 66.0 career sacks, third in team history. Phillips needs 1.0 sack to tie Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (67) for second.

Looking ahead: In Week 13, the Chargers will stay in the AFC North with a home game against the Bengals.

Prediction: Ravens 30, Chargers 20

Follow the Chargers and Dan McLellan on Twitter @CBSChargers and @sandiegosports.