Ravens at Chargers -- Week 12
Where: Qualcomm Field, San Diego (grass, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Spread: Ravens by 1
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 Ravens and Chargers are even, having gone 4-4 against each other.
What matters: The Ravens have been a completely different team on the road than at home this season. In five home games, Baltimore has averaged 36.8 points per outing with its offense looking explosive and unstoppable. Away from M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens are only posting an average of 16.6 points per game. Throw San Diego's recent woes out of the discussion because there is a clear drop off in production when Baltimore is forced to travel. In addition, the San Diego offense was able to get the best of Baltimore a year ago, with Chargers QB Philip Rivers throwing for 270 yards and the rushing attack going for 145. “Before I could look up it was 31-7," OLB Terrell Suggs. "It was raining touchdowns out there."
Who matters: If QB Joe Flacco and his top two receivers, Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin, can get some chemistry going early, then it's possible the road woes disappear. San Diego has been vulnerable against the pass, giving up 236 yards per game. Baltimore's passing attack will need to open up RB Ray Rice and the running game, considering the Ravens have posted a yards-per-carry average of under three yards in the past two games.
Key matchups: Ravens CBs vs. Chargers WRs. Ravens corners Corey Graham and Cary Williams both had outstanding games against Pittsburgh a week ago, though they were going against an injured backup quarterback in Byron Leftwich. This week, they'll face Rivers and a slew of receivers that are still dangerous when they catch fire. Chargers WRs Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander pose matchup problems on the outside as both have the size to be physical at the line of scrimmage, and they can burn past almost anyone. ... Ravens OTs vs. Chargers OLBs. LT Michael Oher and RT Kelechi Osemele have begun to stack some solid games on top of each other and will need another against a tough trio of outside linebackers in San Diego. Shaun Phillips has six sacks in what's been a productive season for the nine-year veteran. Antwan Barnes' production has been down, though he had four sacks against the Ravens last year. And then there's Jarret Johnson, one of the better edge setters in the NFL, who can also get after the passer when called upon.
Injuries of note: CB Jimmy Smith (sports hernia surgery) will not play this week. CB Chris Johnson's status is also in doubt due to a hamstring injury.
Inside stuff: S James Ihedigbo has contributed more minutes since the bye week. Ihedigbo tallied his first sack of the season against Pittsburgh out of Baltimore's substitution package, which has helped aid Baltimore's pass rush. Look for Ihedigbo to possibly earn more time on the field this week.
Connections: The Chargers have six players that used to play for Baltimore: OLB Johnson, OLB Barnes, FB Le'Ron McClain, DT Aubrayo Franklin, CB Chris Carr and OT Jared Gaither . ... Ravens OC Cam Cameron served in the same position in San Diego from 2002-2006. ... Ravens S Ed Reed and Chargers P Mike Scifres were teammates in high school at Destrehan (La.).
Stat you should know: The Ravens' red zone defense has been among the league's best of late. In its past three games, Baltimore has given up zero touchdowns when opponents get inside the 20-yard line.
Record watch: RB Rice needs one rushing touchdown to move past Willis McGahee and claim second place on Baltimore's all-time rushing touchdowns list. Rice and McGahee are currently tied at 31. Sitting in first place is former Ravens RB Jamal Lewis, who scored 45 rushing touchdowns with Baltimore.
Looking ahead: After traveling to San Diego, the Ravens will return home and host Pittsburgh, a hated divisional rival it just beat 13-10 on the road a week ago.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Ravens 23
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.
Ravens Game Preview vs. Chargers: Analysis, prediction, TV info
The Ravens have been a completely different team on the road than at home this season. In five home games, Baltimore has averaged 36.8 points per outing with its offense looking explosive and unstoppable. Away from M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens are only posting an average of just 16.6 points per game.
Ravens at Chargers -- Week 12