Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday’s Week 6 game between the Ravens (4-1) and Los Angeles Chargers (4-1) at M&T Bank Stadium:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter
Chargers 28, Ravens 24: The Ravens have struggled to make talented quarterbacks look ordinary this season — and Justin Herbert might be as talented as any player they face. Against Lamar Jackson and a much-improved Ravens passing game, the Chargers will dare coordinator Greg Roman to run the ball, which might not be the gamble it was in previous seasons. If this game goes down to the wire, how much home-field magic do the Ravens have left?
Mike Preston, columnist
Ravens 24, Chargers 21: Overall, I think the Chargers have the better team and I won’t be surprised if they win. But the Ravens are playing Los Angeles at the right time. The Chargers won a hard-fought, high-scoring game against Cleveland last week, 47-42, and now have to fly to the East Coast to play Baltimore. They are due for an emotional letdown. The game will feature two of the top young quarterbacks in the league in the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert, but I think the Ravens might have more juice left in the tank in the fourth quarter than Los Angeles.
Childs Walker, reporter
Ravens 34, Chargers 30: The Chargers’ offense, led by Justin Herbert, presents a difficult stylistic matchup for the Ravens, who have struggled to defend quick passes. But if the Ravens get their running game going, they will present just as many problems for a Los Angeles defense that just gave up 42 points to the Browns. Expect a high-scoring affair, with the Ravens’ superiority on special teams coming into play.
Ryan McFadden, reporter
Chargers 34, Ravens 30: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has been balling out this season, which is not a good sign for a Ravens secondary that’s struggled. Sunday’s game has the making of another instant classic, but this time, Lamar Jackson won’t be able to bail out the defense.
C.J. Doon, editor
Ravens 27, Chargers 26: Another Ravens game coming down to wire? Shocking, I know. But these teams are so evenly matched that it’s hard to envision a blowout. I’m most looking forward to seeing how the Ravens defend the Chargers on third down, where quarterback Justin Herbert has thrived. According to The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz, Herbert’s 0.04 expected points added per play on first and second downs ranks 25th in the league, but on third down, he jumps up to 0.44 EPA per play, which ranks sixth. Can defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale confuse Herbert enough to get his unit off the field in crucial situations? In the end, I trust Lamar Jackson and kicker Justin Tucker a little more than Herbert and the Chargers’ shaky special teams.
Tim Schwartz, editor
Chargers 41, Ravens 35: Chargers second-year quarterback Justin Herbert has been nothing short of spectacular this season and looks like a potential MVP candidate. While the same can be said for the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Los Angeles has more dynamic weapons out wide and in the backfield. If the Ravens struggled to slow the Colts’ Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. on Monday night, what might Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler and the wide receiving duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams do against the Baltimore secondary? The Ravens will have no problem scoring against a Chargers defense that has allowed a league-high 788 rushing yards, but Baltimore’s defense won’t be able to keep up in this one.