PFF Preview: Chargers @ Ravens, Week 13
As the AFC playoff picture continues to heat up, the San Diego Chargers (7-4) make the difficult cross-country trip to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens (7-4) in a match-up that holds major playoff implications.
If the Chargers hope to real off their third consecutive victory against a Ravens team that have won four straight at home, they’ll have to play a lot better than their last East Coast trip in which they were shut out 37-0 by the Miami Dolphins.
In order to do that, the Chargers will need to limit a Ravens’ rushing attack led by a 5-foot-8 running back out of California, Justin Forsett. In Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints, Forsett pieced together the best game of his career, which in return earned him the highest rush grade he’s ever posted in seven years in the league, +3.7.
Among 60 running backs that have played a minimum of 175 snaps, Forsett ranks second in average yards per attempt (5.8), third in yards (903), and is tied for sixth for his average yards after contact (2.7). Forsett has also featured his ability to pick up big yardage throughout the season. In fact, his 361 yards picked up on 12 runs of 15+ yards both rank second among all backs, giving him a Breakaway Percentage of 40.0%.
For the Chargers, containing Forsett may be easier said than done. Collectively, the Chargers’ run defense has an -8.3 grade, just one spot better than the Saints. That being said, Eric Weddle has a run grade of +4.5, tied for fifth among all safeties, and may need to assist in run support. Weddle has played 44.2% of run snaps within eight yards of the line of scrimmage (LoS), racking up 14 tackles (tied for 10th) and eight stops, earning him a Run Stop Percentage of 7.5% (12th-best), compared to a run stop percentage of 4.5% when playing deeper than 8 yards.
As both teams look to gain some ground in the playoff race, Sunday’s game may quite literally be decided by the ground game.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers – Rivers has tossed seven touchdowns deep downfield (20+ yards), tied for sixth among all quarterbacks.
Brandon Flowers – With a coverage grade of +11.2, Flowers ranks fourth among all cornerbacks.
Jarret Johnson – The former Raven has earned a run defense grade of +6.6, the best of any Chargers’ defender.
Joe Flacco – Flacco’s average time per attempt of 2.50 seconds ranks 11th among all quarterbacks.
Jeremy Zuttah – Zuttah has struggled in pass protection (-5.0), but he has impressed in run blocking (+8.3).
C.J. Mosley – Mosley has been targeted 62 times when in coverage, second most among all inside linebackers.
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