The Baltimore Ravens will look to clinch its fourth consecutive playoff berth and stay in control of its own destiny for the AFC’s No. 1 seed when they visit the San Diego Chargers Sunday night.
Baltimore (10-3) has won 10 games for the third time in four seasons, though they’re looking to lock up a first-round bye and receive a home playoff game for the first time since the 2006 season.
The Ravens are seeking to win their fifth consecutive game for the first time since Oct. 29-Nov. 26, 2006.
During the team’s four game winning streak, running back Ray Rice has been front center offensively. Rice, who exceeded the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the third straight season with a 103-yard performance against the Indianapolis Colts, put together back-to-back 100+ rushing yard performance for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, defensively, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has fueled the unit over the past four games. Playing without emotional and spiritual leader, Ray Lewis, Suggs has picked up the slack, having been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week two of the past three weeks.
Suggs has a career-high and AFC-leading 13 sacks, after registering three last week while also forcing three fumbles.
The San Diego Chargers come into Sunday night’s game fighting for its playoff lives.
With a record of 6-7, San Diego sits two games behind AFC West leader Denver (8-5), and two games behind the New York Jets (8-5) for the final wild-card spot. The Chargers are on a bit off a roll having won their past two straight games.
Over the past two games, the Chargers have outscored their opponents 75-24, and it’s been their defense that has made the difference, forcing four turnovers in the two victories.
The Chargers are led by quarterback Phillip Rivers, who played a solid game last week in the team’s 37-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills, throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers has clicked on all cylinders over the past three games, as he has thrown seven touchdowns compared to no interceptions.
Second-year running back Ryan Matthews rushed for 114 yards in the victory, giving him his third straight 100-yard game. However, it will be difficult for Matthews to extend that streak as the Baltimore rush defense ranks second in the NFL allowing only 85.8 rushing yards per game.
On the flip side, San Diego is tied for 23rd against the run giving up 128.9 yards per game. That may bode well for Rice, who ranks second in the AFC in rushing behind Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew.
It’s worth noting the Ravens have owned this matchup of late, having won four of the past five contests.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 P.M./EST with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth getting the call for NBC.