In honor of the holiday most associated with horror, the NFL has slated us with two of the worst records in the 2015 league year going at it. Interestingly, this might be a matchup of the two most solidly underachieving teams: the Chargers were expected to do well, if not necessarily "contend." The Ravens were a trendy Super Bowl pick.
Clearly the sports-mavens were not clairvoyant on these two.
The Chargers could ill afford injuries in two places: the offensive line and defensive back 7. Where are all their injuries? You guessed it: the offensive line and defensive back 7.
The Ravens could ill afford injuries in two places: wideout and pass-rush. Where are the most significant injuries?
Phillip Rivers, he of the Army of Children, is currently leading the league in passing yards...and attempts. Because the Chargers' line so closely resembles a local high school's, the Chargers have taken to dinking and dunking with impunity. Rivers' passes are mostly short air-time rockets, which while not his specialty he's certainly capable of doing. This is also the exact type of play the Ravens are currently worst at stopping: for reasons I will never understand, the Ravens' corners have been playing with five yards or so of cushion on receivers this year, and the results have been...lackluster, when not outright disastrous. This also means that Rivers can basically select whatever receiver he wants, since they'll have sufficient time for their rapid- crash pass system. The Chargers might not even pretend to run the ball: the Ravens have several of the best run defenders in the league on their front 7, and 3 of the worst-rated 20 corners covering people. Even without Gates the Great playing due to injury, this could get ugly fast if the Ravens don't babysit crossing routes and give safety help over top.
The other side of the argument is pleasant: Once a runner gets past the Chargers' front four, he's basically good to go. Forsett is not your typical scat-back, but against a Chargers back-7 without Weddle, Te'o or Freeman, they're probably going to need a corner to even catch the elusive Ravens runner. And if Flacco was ever going to bombs-away to a sprinting receiver or tight end, this is the day: Weddle's replacement just got torched by Derek Carr. Repeatedly. Graphically. Don't-let-impressionable-children-watch-edly. Now if only we had a speed receiver to take advantage of Weddle's absence...I'm not sure there's someone like that on the roster. People keep telling me the Ravens drafted someone like that, but I have yet to see Probably Fictional Perriman.
Ravens: 32, Chargers 28.
Reason: Because I'm a homer, and it leaks out every so often.