ESPN senior writer Mike Sando asks NFL insiders to pick up winners in select games every week. Three evaluators joined the panel for Week 16. This week’s games: Ravens-Chargers, Redskins-Titans, Steelers-Saints, Texans-Eagles and Chiefs-Seahawks.
Saturday: 8:20 p.m. ET, NFLN | Point spread: LAC by 4.5 | Insiders pick: LAC (2/3)
The insider picking the Ravens cited two factors. He thought the Ravens’ defense would pose problems for the Chargers. He also thought the lack of a significant home-field advantage at the StubHub Center would make this an easier road atmosphere than most.
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“The way Baltimore plays offensively is going to be difficult for the Chargers,” said this insider. “The Chargers will crowd more guys in the box, and I think you might be surprised, [Lamar] Jackson will take a few shots over their heads. Cincinnati ran the ball really effectively against the Chargers. Kansas City had chances, too, but could not commit to it as fully. “
One of the insiders picking the Chargers thought this could be a rough game for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“Jackson is basically playing a playoff game here, and I think it’s going to be a little tough for him,” this insider said. “The Chargers Have Speed “
The third insider picked the Chargers while saying he could easily see the outcome going in Baltimore’s favor, maybe with a late Justin Tucker field goal deciding it.
“I think it will be a really tight, grind-it-out game, “said this insider.” To me, the key matchup is the Chargers being able to run the ball with Melvin Gordon back. You can run on them, but teams have not done it for a variety of reasons. “
Baltimore’s last opponent, Tampa Bay, lost its fullback early in the game. Before that, the Ravens faced a Kansas City team without Kareem Hunt , a Falcons team without Devonta Freeman and a Raiders team without Marshawn Lynch.