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Ravens News 12/20: Tucker snubbed, Chargers scouting report and more

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New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

John Harbaugh: Justin Tucker snub is ‘big-time head scratcher’ - Jamison Hensley

When Justin Tucker failed to make the Pro Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens kicker posted a picture of himself with a confused look on Twitter.

Coach John Harbaugh echoed that sentiment Wednesday.

“I think that one is a big-time head-scratcher,” Harbaugh said.

Tucker was among the NFL’s biggest snubs, getting beat out by New York Jets kicker Jason Myers. The most accurate kicker in NFL history, Tucker didn’t receive the Pro Bowl nod despite missing just two field goals (both blocked) and not converting one extra point

“I suppose I was a little bit surprised,” said Tucker, who is a first alternate. “All of that is somewhat in good fun. The only thing you can do is focus on kicking the ball straight. We’ve done a really good job of that for the most part. We’re just going to aim to continue to do so.”

Tucker has not made the Pro Bowl in either of the last two seasons despite converting a combined 92.5-percent of his field goals and 98.6-percent of his extra point attempts.

Scouting Report: Ravens vs. Chargers - Ricky Henne

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers enters Week 16 amidst one of the finest seasons of his Hall of Fame career. The Pro Bowler has completed 310 of 447 attempts for 3,951 yards, 31 touchdowns and only eight interceptions for a 112.4 passer rating. His top weapon, Keenan Allen, was just named to his second-straight Pro Bowl after amassing team-highs in receptions (88) and yards (1,074). Meanwhile, Mike Williams ranks fourth in the NFL among wideouts with 10 total TDs (nine receiving, one rushing), while Tyrell Williams has 39 catches for 618 yards and five TDs. On the ground, Melvin Gordon made another Pro Bowl after toting the rock 153 times for 802 yards (5.2 ypc) and nine touchdowns. He also had 44 catches for 453 yards and four touchdowns.

On Defense for the Chargers

Two members of the Bolts’ defense were named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week in Derwin James and Melvin Ingram. The safety leads the team with 97 tackles and is on pace to become the first rookie in franchise history to record 100 tackles. He also leads the team with 14 passes defensed and is tied with Desmond King for most interceptions with three. Meanwhile, Ingram’s 7.0 sacks lead the team, followed by Isaac Rochell (5.0) and Joey Bosa (4.0).

Keenan Allen is expected to be a game-time decision after injuring his hip against the Chiefs. In two career games against the Ravens, he has amassed 16 receptions for 156 yards and three scores.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers: 4 stats to know for Week 16 clash - Aaron Kasinitz

The Ravens are the only team in the NFL to rank in the Top 5 in offensive and defensive third-down rate

As far as numbers go, the Chargers are strong across the board but pretty average on third downs. They rank 12th on offense and 24th on defense. So perhaps Baltimore can gain an edge in these key situations and dominate third downs, which might lead to a time of possession advantage. While it won’t be easy to beat Los Angeles, these stats could chart a path to the winners circle.

The Chargers are 5-1 in games decided by seven points or less this season; the Ravens are 1-4

The Chargers haven’t lost a game by more than one point since September, and the Ravens enter the week as 4.5-point underdogs with an offense that isn’t conducive to blowout wins. Baltimore’s best bet Saturday is to keep Los Angeles’ offense in check and pull out a narrow victory — something they haven’t done often in recent years.

Baltimore is 3-4 on the road this season and 4-10 as a road underdog since 2016.

Eric Weddle’s Homecoming Is Huge, But Not for the Reasons You May Think - Ryan Mink

It’s a homecoming against the Chargers, who he suited up for from 2007 to 2015 – nine seasons. It’s also against his best friend, quarterback Philip Rivers.

But it’s about more than that. Saturday’s game has huge implications, not just for the Ravens’ season, but perhaps for Weddle himself. In the back of Weddle’s mind, he knew the Ravens’ season and playoff hopes could boil down to this game. And, indeed, it (probably) has.

“Listen, we have to win, and I’ve known, obviously, that we would be playing them,” Weddle said. “And since it’s towards the end of the season, I’ve had some extra time to watch them.

The amount of preparation Weddle has put into Saturday’s game is no joke. On Tuesday, Weddle gave fellow safety Tony Jefferson seven pages of notes about the Chargers and what Rivers likes to do.

“He’s locked in every week, but you can definitely tell there’s something more there,” Jefferson said.

Weddle is always trying to read quarterbacks’ minds. He knows how Rivers thinks better than any other person in the NFL.

“‘Hey, you get this check, you get this nickel, he’s shaded inside. I get the shade to me to bring this pressure, so I’m going to check this route, and we’re going to beat them,’” Weddle said. “This was everyday conversation.

The veteran safety’s familiarity with Rivers gained by practicing against him for nine seasons should come in handy on Saturday. The pre-snap chess match between Eric Weddle and Phillip Rivers could produce big plays both ways.