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Five concerns, prediction for Chargers at Ravens

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Five concerns, prediction for Chargers at Ravens

Can the Ravens (1-6) end another three-game skid, and at least head into their bye in Week 9 on a positive note? The Ravens host the Chargers (2-5) on Sunday (1 p.m.), and San Diego has also lost three straight. Here are five things that should worry the Ravens, and a prediction:

1. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having a monster year.

Rivers has thrown for at least 336 yards in four straight games, and he’s completing almost 70 percent (69.1) of his passes. It will be a bigger surprise if Rivers doesn’t throw for 300 yards against the Ravens than if he does. Figuring out how to contain Rivers is keeping defensive coordinator Dean Pees up at night.

“You can talk about Peyton (Manning), and you can talk about (Tom) Brady, but I don’t know that anybody controls the offense more than Rivers does,” Pees said.

RELATED: Harbaugh on facing Philip Rivers and the Chargers

2. The Chargers’ most-recent memory of M&T Bank Stadium is a good one.

In Week 13 last season, the Chargers pinned a 34-33 loss on the Ravens at M&T. Rivers threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner to Eddie Royal with 46 seconds left.

3. The Ravens’ intimidation factor at home is gone.

Having lost both home games so far, the Ravens can’t count on being at M&T to solve their struggles.  And their fan base is restless. If the Ravens want to avoid hearing boos Sunday, here’s a suggestion. Don’t fall behind early.

“I’m sure our fans are not particularly happy with our record and our position, but we’ve got to go out there, and we’ve got to play our best and go win a football game, and another one, and another one,” said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. “But it starts with the first one.”

4. Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been wearing out cornerbacks.

Allen is third in the NFL in receiving yards (690), and the Ravens’ secondary has endured coverage issues all season. Allen could be the next receiver to top 100 yards against Baltimore.

5. Expect the Chargers to blitz Flacco, which could pressure him into mistakes.

Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) may be out of the lineup, and the Cardinals had success bringing blitz pressure against Flacco on Monday night. If Flacco is forced into bad throws that lead to a turnover or two, the Ravens’ problems will be compounded.

PREDICTION: Despite the danger that Rivers brings, the Chargers are not a good football team, especially on defense. Ravens running back Justin Forsett should be able to do business, and the Ravens’ defense showed signs of improvement in Arizona. It will be close, but the Ravens will get win No. 2.

RAVENS 23, CHARGERS 20

MORE RAVENS: Will Ravens rookie Breshad Perriman play in 2015?

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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