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Philip freaking Rivers
Remember last year? When Philip Rivers put together one of the greatest drives of his life, down six against the Ravens in Baltimore, and threw a game-winning TD with about 30 seconds left? Click here to relive it anyway because it's fun.
You know how they say that, when you have a franchise QB like Rivers, your team always has a shot? That's true. Rivers has single-handled kept this team from being 4-12 or worse many times, keeping them right around 7-9 wins each year. He does that by occasionally winning games like this by himself, so don't be shocked if it happens again.
Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the Baltimore Ravens' defensive secondary is so bad that our old pal Shareece Wright will be on the field for at least a handful of snaps.
Jason Verrett vs. Steve Smith Sr.
Name a Ravens wide receiver. Now name another. You can't do it, can you?
According to the Ravens' official depth chart, their starter opposite Steve Smith is....Kamar Aiken. Seriously! I have no idea who that is. When the Chargers beat the Ravens last year, they still had Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown looked nice. Marlon Brown has 13 catches in 7 games this year. That's less than 2 catches per game! (Aiken isn't much better with less than 3 catches per game.)
So, it's easy to see why the Ravens are 1-6. Joe Flacco may or may not be elite, but he certainly can't play NFL-caliber football with one good receiver.
Luckily for the San Diego Chargers, their defense does only one thing well. That one thing is Jason Verrett, who has already shown an ability to lock down some of the league's top receivers. I imagine he'll be following Steve Smith around the field all game on Sunday, which means Flacco will have to rely on Aiken and Crockett Gilmore to be his main pass-catchers.
I take the Chargers in that matchup.
Hope at the end of the tunnel
Believe it or not, all hope is not lost for the 2015 Chargers.
A win against this 1-6 Ravens team, followed by a Monday night win against what will probably be a 2-5 Chicago Bears team, gets the Chargers to 4-5 at their bye week. If they get healthy and beat JUST the Chiefs, Jaguars and Raiders, that gets them to an 8-8 season. Wins against the Dolphins or Broncos would push them into "playoff contender" area.
If this team's issue is health, as it sometimes appears to be, then the extra day of rest will help them out for next week's game. Then they can get even healthier over the bye and come out with their biggest issue potentially solved. The Chargers essentially need to leave Baltimore with a win to keep their playoff chances (somewhat realistically) alive.
Is that not enough motivation?