The Ravens face a trap game this week if ever there was one, with a cross country trip during a holiday week sandwiched between two games against the Steelers. But they are facing a reeling Chargers team that has lost five of six and appears rudderless for Norv Turner, whose job status has been a November tradition the past few years.
Given all that, most – though not all – of the national media expect the Ravens to earn the road win. Here is how some of them see the game playing out:
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 24, Chargers 20
"The Ravens are getting closer to a fifth straight postseason, and Norv Turner is getting closer to a third coaching postmortem."
Elliott Harrison, NFL.com: Ravens 34, Chargers 24
"The Jarret Johnson Revenge Bowl: Feel the excitement of a linebacker playing his former team! This game is truly up to Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and how he wants to play it. If he plans to pound Ray Rice and take some offensive risks based partially off the run game, the San Diego Chargers are in serious trouble. While we've detailed Joe Flacco's road struggles before, the Baltimore defense will come alive this weekend. The Ravens certainly remember getting their butts handed to them 34-14 in SoCal last year. Philip Rivers' mistake-prone play will be the difference."
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Ravens 20, Chargers 17
"Philip Rivers won’t like the fact the Ravens will have Ed Reed in the secondary because it all but guarantees he’ll throw an interception. This is an important game for counterpart Joe Flacco to break out of a funk."
Peter King, SI.com: Ravens 27, Chargers 23
"With or without Ed Reed, I just don't trust San Diego. The Chargers, in the last two months, are 0-6 against all teams not from Kansas City, and they give off the distinct aroma of a team playing out the string and wondering if their coach in 2013 will be a: Chip Kelly; b: Andy Reid; c. Some total longshot like Syracuse coach Doug Marrone."
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Chargers 31, Ravens 21
"This is a be-careful game for the Ravens. They don't play well out here and San Diego can get it going through the air, an area of concern for the Ravens. I see Philip Rivers coming up big in a game that the Chargers have to get."
Peter Schrager, Fox Sports.com: Ravens 27, Chargers 16
"Ed Reed’s suspension appeal was a success on Tuesday, but the $50,000 hit to the wallet still isn’t exactly chump change. The Ravens will have their star safety in the lineup this weekend, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered much if he wasn’t, anyway. Baltimore could trot out a bunch of second- and third-stringers against this anemic Chargers offense and be just fine. In the past five years, the Chargers have opted not to re-sign Michael Turner, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson. Philip Rivers could use every single one of them now."
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 20, Chargers 16
"I don’t believe the Ravens are as good as their 8-2 record suggests, and they’re bound to come back to the pack in the AFC eventually. But after the Chargers’ loss to the Broncos on Sunday, San Diego isn’t going anywhere. The Chargers will come out flat and the Ravens will win."