Scouts Inc. Chargers-Ravens Take 2

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Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005

The Ravens' defense is very physical defense and is obviously playing at a very high level. The unit is equally tough attacking the passer and stuffing the run.
The secondary didn't play particularly well in Cleveland last week, but three of the four starters -- Ed Reed, Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle are Pro Bowl-caliber performers. They will need to rebound this week and make life very tough on the Chargers' group of ordinary wide receivers.

• Both teams could have a very difficult time protecting their passers, as both defensive fronts are loaded with talent, aggression and mismatches in their favor across the board. The Ravens left tackle, Jonathan Ogden, is still a very good player, but will probably have to try to stymie OLB Shawne Merriman one on one, since the Ravens will not be able to assign a running back or tight end to help.

The same may be true for rookie LT Marcus McNeil, who will draw the assignment of battling RDE Terrell Suggs. McNeil will probably get more help than Ogden, but both passers are going to take some big hits when they drop back.

• Even though the Ravens are extremely stout against the run and running backs simply are not producing against them, LaDainian Tomlinson is special and very difficult for any defense to contain. He is a rare talent, who is extremely powerful, low, quick and explosive. He sees the field very well and can exploit a gap mistake by the defense for a long gain.

The Chargers will feed him the ball over and over, even if the running game is sputtering early on. Tomlinson will also be used on quick passes out of the backfield to slow down Baltimore's pass rush and ease the burden on Philip Rivers. He already has a team-leading 10 receptions in the Chargers' two games. The Ravens might slow Tomlinson down, but they won't stop him.

• Shawne Merriman might be best defensive player in the league in just his second season. Not only is he loaded with physical talent and great size for the position, but he is an extremely hard worker both on and off the field. His attention to detail and desire to be great is what separates him from other talented young defenders around the league.

There are times when he is just unblockable. As a pass rusher, he has the ability to bull rush offensive tackles or run past them with his speed and quickness. Merriman also makes a ton of plays against the run, either right at him or as a backside pursuit player. This game also is a coming home party for Merriman, who played at the University of Maryland.

• Rarely will you see a game featuring tight ends as good as Antonio Gates and Todd Heap. Both players will be counted on to provide a big target for their quarterbacks, who are surely going to be under a heavy pass rush.

Both Gates and Heap are tall, with large catching frames, making them tough assignments for defensive backs. They are also quick and tight route runners who are very difficult for linebackers to keep up with. As good as the Ravens' defense has been, opposing tight ends have had success this season through three games.

• Philip Rivers will be tested mentally in this game. He must keep his cool and stay patient on the road in Baltimore. This could be his first big challenge from a mental perspective and he will have to keep his team from crumbling when the going gets tough. This game could be a battle of wills, with the mentally tougher team prevailing in the end. His counterpart, McNair, will certainly be up to the challenge.

• The Ravens have moved the ball well on offense against some suspect defenses, but they haven't done a real good job of scoring touchdowns or stretching the field with a potent deep passing game. Part of the reason the Ravens haven't had to expand their offense is because they have handled lesser opponents and dominated the game with their defense. This week should be different. Baltimore has a fine set of weapons and this will be McNair's fourth regular season game in the system. It is time for him to push the envelope more.

• San Diego has made some improvements in their secondary, but the group has yet to be really tested in the Chargers' first two games. McNair will surely take some shots this week deep down the field to see just how improved that San Diego secondary really is. Heap is a matchup problem against the Chargers' heavier 3-4 linebackers and may need to be bracketed by a linebacker and safety. This attention should free up Derrick Mason or up-and-comer Mark Clayton, if the Ravens can protect McNair long enough to go deep.

Special Teams
The Chargers resigned PK Nate Kaeding to a six-year contract extension this week, which shows how happy San Diego is with its young, talented kicker. The Ravens' Matt Stover has been outstanding all season and won the game last week with just seconds on the clock in Cleveland by drilling a 52-yarder. Both San Diego and Baltimore are very good on special teams. The Ravens could have a slight edge overall due to Stover's history of performing in the clutch, and this game could very well come down to a last- minute field goal attempt.

• San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson against Baltimore MLB Ray Lewis
• Baltimore LT Jonathan Ogden against San Diego OLB Shawne Merriman
• Baltimore OC Mike Flynn against San Diego NT Jamal Williams
• San Diego QB Philip Rivers against Baltimore FS Ed Reed
• San Diego LT Marcus McNeill against Baltimore RDE Terrell Suggs

Scouts' Edge
The Chargers have the advantage of having two weeks to prepare for this game, but face the disadvantage of having to travel across the country to a hostile environment in Baltimore. Both teams are undefeated, but neither have beaten a true quality opponent. This game with be a barometer. The Chargers have won their two games by a combined score of 67-7. Of course, both defenses are very strong, so the quarterback play could make the difference.

Rivers has an advantage over McNair, as he shares the backfield with Tomlinson. McNair has done an outstanding job of managing the game and not making mistakes, but more will be asked of him this week. The Chargers will make a statement this weekend and win a very physical football game on the road.

Prediction: Chargers 17, Ravens 13

Advantage Ravens: QB, WR, DB, ST, and Coach
Advantage Bolts: RB, OL, DL, LB, and Overall.


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2006
Advantage Ravens: QB, WR, DB, ST, and Coach
Advantage Bolts: RB, OL, DL, LB, and Overall.
I would take Rivers over McNair at this point. McNair has been in the Ravens offense a few weeks , Rivers is in his 3rd year.

If the Ravens can't run the ball and be sure that they will try and pound it up the gut that will expose McNair and the Balt OL.

The Chargers on offense will see Parker , MaCardell, VJ and Floyd matched up in single coverage a lot. Ed Reed, Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle will be put to the test. They struggled vs the Browns and the Chargers are in another league in comparison to the Browns.

The Ravens will have to spend a lot of resources to stop LT and with Turner spelling LT you may find the older Raven players sucking air in the 4th QT.

Especially with the Chargers using a lot of elephant sets and attacking the parameters of that defense. The Chargers TE and huge WR sets will be unlike any offense the Ravens have faced in several years much less this one.

On the Coaching front No way do I give the Ravens staff a nod over the Bolts staff particularly with S.D. having two weeks to prepare.

If the Chargers win the turn over battle they win this game and the Chargers could do it pulling away.

Take that to the bank :lol:


Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2006

Game Preview: Chargers at Ravens
Written by Tim Sylvester
Thursday, 28 September 2006
San Diego (2-0) @ Baltimore (3-0)

There are only seven teams remaining undefeated after week three in the NFL and two of them will meet up in Baltimore. The Chargers roll into town coming off of a bye week after blowing out their first two opponents by a combined score of 67-7. San Diego boasts one of the league’s top defenses after two games and is 8-8 following the bye. The Ravens are coming off of a hard fought game in Cleveland where they won on a Matt Stover 52 yard field goal with just 20 seconds left and also have a defense known for shutting down offenses. This one has the makings of a heavyweight fight and could come down to the last team with the ball winning.

How they match up:

The Chargers come into this game with the third ranked total offense after two games. They are averaging 389 total yards per game, 171.5 yards through the air, and 217.5 on the ground. LaDainian Tomlinson leads San Diego in rushing with 202 yards on 50 carries with three touchdowns. He also adds a dangerous element to the passing game, having hauled in 10 receptions for 69 yards and thrown four touchdowns in his six year career. The Chargers will spell Tomlinson from time to time with third year runningback Michael Turner who has rushed for 175 yards on 23 carries and one score in two games. Both backs have the speed to break long runs and go the distance.

Philip Rivers will lead the 28th rated passing offense of the Chargers against the league’s top ranked defense after three games. Rivers is completing 71.7% of his passes for 343 yards and two scores; a quarterback rating of 107.4. He has only played in six total games over his three year career, starting in two of them and he has not been sacked yet this season. When Rivers is not dumping the ball off to one of his running backs, he looks to Antonio Gates, one of the best tight ends in the game.

Gates has six receptions on the season, one for a touchdown, the other five all good for a first down with two of them over 20 yards. Keenan McCardell (6-76) and Eric Parker (2-63) will line up at the wide out positions. McCardell is more of a possession receiver at this stage of his career, but still has some speed to get deep. Parker is the deep threat of the two, with great quickness and solid speed to test even the best secondaries the game has to offer.

The Ravens' defense is holding teams to just 197.3 total yards per game, 34.3 yards on the ground and 163 yards through the air. They have registered 16 sacks, seven interceptions and are holding opposing quarterbacks to completing just 52.1% of their passes.

Offensively, the Ravens are ranked 22nd overall after three games and are averaging 182.7 yards per game through the air and 109 yards on the ground. Steve McNair has completed 55.4% of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception for a quarterback rating of 78.3. He will face a Charger defense allowing just 102.5 yards per game through the air after two games, with nine sacks, two interceptions and one score allowed. San Diego is holding opposing running backs to 3.6 yards per carry, 71 yards per game and they have not given up a touchdown on the ground.

Defensive Keys:

First and foremost it goes without saying; the Ravens must stop the run and force the young quarterback to try and beat them with the pass. When Rivers does throw, of his 33 completions, 22 of them have gone to the backs or tightends, short and over the middle. Stacking the box with eight men will help to contain the running game and clog the short passing lanes. The Chargers are very good at disguising and running their screens, the front seven must prevent this from becoming a big play.

Multiple pre-snap looks: Try and confuse Rivers who has only played in six total NFL games and utilize the looks to disguise the blitz. He has not been sacked yet this year, but then considering the two opponents the Chargers have faced, the line has not truly been tested. When they do get to Rivers, they must wrap him up. While he is not elusive, he is a big body and will be difficult to bring down before he unloads the ball. San Diego likes to try and exploit the middle with Gates’ speed and athleticism; Adalius Thomas and the safeties must keep him in check.

Jam: The Chargers like to throw the ball short early on to set up the deep pass. Throwing short or intermediate routes with three and five step drops keeps things simple for a young quarterback and makes it difficult for the defense to get to him. Being physical with the receivers at the line of scrimmage will break the timing of the routes and allow the front seven a little more time to pressure Rivers. Also, chipping Gates as he releases will help slow him down and aide the secondary in coverage.

Offensive keys

Conventional wisdom says to play it safe and take what the stingy Charger defense gives them. However, the secondary is not as good in reality as it looks on paper. They appear to perform at a high level because of the pressure the front seven generates. Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman must be located on each play and chipped by a back or tight end. This should slow his rush down and aide Tony Pashos when Merriman lines up on his side. Also, Merriman will drop back into coverage on occasion, when he does, Heap and Wilcox should have the advantage- look for them more.

San Diego runs a very effective 3-4 scheme with two powerful defensive ends in Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky and a massive body in the 6’-3”, 350 pound nose tackle Jamal Williams. Olshansky is still hobbled by a knee injury suffered in week one and maybe limited in this game. A quick tempo and utilizing the pass to set up the run in this game will minimize the effectiveness of Williams and help loosen up the running lanes for Lewis, Smith and Anderson. Utilizing the hard count, especially in obvious passing situations is one way to use the aggressiveness of the Charger defense against them and help minimize the distance needed for a first down.

Overall: San Diego has yet to be tested this season, especially on offense where Rivers has not been pressured much and only hit twice in two games. Their defense has given ground and failed to register a sack in week two against Tennessee. They have relied on special teams and turnovers to set their offense up in a position to score. Baltimore has eaten from the same tree but was tested last week in Cleveland and found ways to win. For the Ravens to win, the offensive line and the coverage units of the special teams will have to play at a high level. Both units have been inconsistent, specifically the line. The Ravens lead the league in turnover ratio with a plus 10, while the Chargers are at a plus three and have not turned the ball over yet.


Sep 23, 2006
I just don't see the Ravens offense doing much of anything against our defense. As for us, I know it'll be a grind-it-out kinda game, but as long as Rivers plays the smart ball he's been question the Bolts will take it. I never thought I would be happy to see some overthrows, but if he is over compensating some passes to keep away from defenders...INcompletes are better than INterceptions.



Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2006
I would take Rivers over McNair at this point. McNair has been in the Ravens offense a few weeks , Rivers is in his 3rd year. If the Ravens can't run the ball and be sure that they will try and pound it up the gut that will expose McNair and the Balt OL.

Take that to the bank :lol:

Exactly my thoughts. I own them both in fantasy and am definately starting Rivers this week.


Don't like it, lump it!!!
Jul 11, 2006
I'm not worried about PR tossing an INT, I believe he is good enough to overcome a mistake. The kid has to learn and there is no better way that what he's doing, going out and playing the game. Unlike years past PR has the fire inside to will the team over a few bumps in the road. Today will be his coming out party so to speak, NFL beware, The Bolts Are For Real.:bolt: :icon_toast: