Ravens must replicate week 16 game plan in Wildcard game
The Baltimore Ravens first playoff game since 2014 comes against the Los Angeles Chargers. A win could come from an identical game-plan to a few weeks ago.
Since the week ten bye week, the Baltimore Ravens key to success has come primarily through Lamar Jackson and his legs. The Ravens run-game has ignited under the rookie quarterback, who became the youngest quarterback to ever start a playoff game in NFL history at 21-years, 364-days. Between Jackson’s dynamism as a runner and the rest of the team’s running back stable stepping up, opposing teams aren’t sure how to stop Baltimore’s offense.
But even if a team were to finally find an answer for this running attack, no one can overcome this Baltimore Ravens defense. From the top to the bottom, this defense knows little-to-no weakness. The defensive line is stout, the pass rush is fierce, the secondary is sticky, and the attitude from the unit is ferocious. This defense has a swagger behind them and opponents are struggling to match their intensity.
The last time Baltimore and the Los Angeles Chargers matched up, it was week 16 of this season. The Chargers, who entered the game as perhaps the NFL’s scariest team, walked out of their home stadium with a loss to the NFL’s newest feared team: the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore went toe-to-toe with a ridiculously talented and fearsome Chargers squad, but simply out-willed them throughout the game. The Ravens knew that this game in particular was going to be perhaps the biggest of their season. A win vs. the Chargers would put Baltimore firmly in the playoff conversation as a team who could make a run, and would also grab every other club’s attention. It was a chance to send a message, and they didn’t squander the opportunity.
Since then, the Baltimore Ravens are AFC North division champions and are hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2012. Their rematch against these same Chargers is a perfect chance to really solidify this team’s claim to greatness. All eyes will be on Baltimore, as everyone knows that both of these units could make a run and teams, especially the New England Patriots, will be eagerly awaiting a result so they can begin preparing for the winner of this game.
As long as Baltimore opts to replicate their game plan that got them their win last time, it should likely be the Ravens advancing.
This isn’t to say that Baltimore should be sleeping on the Los Angeles Chargers. To the contrary, this is a very well-coached and determined Chargers squad who is looking to prove themselves. On our end of the spectrum, the Ravens have the same mentality and perhaps an even larger chip on their shoulders. Look out, NFL, as this Sunday’s AFC Wildcard game will prove to be the Baltimore Ravens first step towards a Super Bowl LIII berth.