Ravens vs. Chargers 2012 game preview: Baltimore visits sliding San Diego in Week 12

Donald Miralle

After a big division win, the Ravens will try to avoid a letdown on the road against the Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

The Baltimore Ravens, with only a short break between battles with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Weeks 11 and 13, head west to take on a scuffling San Diego Chargers team in Week 12 on Sunday afternoon.

San Diego has lost three of their last four contests since their bye week, and, at 4-6, are on the brink of falling out of playoff contention in the AFC. The Ravens, on the other hand, own the conference's second-best record at 8-2, and have won three-straight games since their respective bye in Week 8.

Meet the San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are currently in the eighth seed in the AFC, tied at 4-6 with four other teams in the conference. They missed their chance to even the season series with the Denver Broncos in Week 11, losing on the road, 30-23. In their last two contests, the San Diego defense has allowed totals of 34 and 30 points.

Quarterback Philip Rivers is ninth in the league in passing touchdowns, with 17, but has also thrown 14 interceptions to go along with 2,461 passing yards. With an average of 328.8 total yards of offense per game, the Chargers rank 23rd overall in the NFL.

Meet the Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore is coming off a black-and-blue win on the road over their division rival Steelers, 13-10, last Sunday night, and they'll face the same Pittsburgh team in Week 13. Defensively, the Ravens give up 382.3 yards per game, which ranks 25th in the league, but their average of 20.6 points allowed per game is good for ninth in the NFL.

Additionally, Baltimore thrives off of taking the ball away, with the AFC's second-best turnover rate of plus-12. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown seven interceptions to go along with 13 touchdown passes and 2,495 passing yards so far this season.

Local Takes: Chargers

Richard Wade from Bolts From The Blue wonders if it might be time for Chargers fans to look towards the future:

"The offense wasn't able to mount a scoring drive again until it was too late and the team's last chance to win was gone just like that. Ultimately, the game wasn't nearly as close as the (not even all that close) final score. Chargers fans are at the point of looking to next year now. Who are your top choices for GM and Head Coach right now?"

Local Takes: Ravens

Bruce Raffel from Baltimore Beat Down says the Ravens' defense may have different players, but still makes big plays:

"Opponents still fear the Ravens and despite the loss of Ray Lewis and others, the Ravens defense is always a threat to create game-changing turnovers regardless of what the names on the backs of the jerseys say. Just ask guys named Johnson, Graham and Ihedigbo."

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Bolts From The Blue and Baltimore Beat Down, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BFTB_Chargers

@BaltimoreBeatdo

@UTgehlken - Chargers beat writer Michael Gehlken.

@jamisonhensley - Jamison Hensley, ESPN.com AFC North blogger, former Ravens beat reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

Prediction

From SB Nation's Week 12 picks:

It's gotta be so hard to be a Chargers fan. You have a quarterback that everyone thinks is your franchise guy, the one to lead you to the promised land. But then you point out that the same quarterback leads the league in turnovers since last season. Baltimore's defense will prey on Rivers and his interceptions.

The pick: 30-20, Ravens

Odds

Despite San Diego opening the week as 1½-point favorites, according to OddsShark, the line has since shifted to even odds for Sunday's game. The over/under point total began at 47 for the contest, and that's where it still remains.

Next Week

The Chargers stay in San Diego in Week 13, as they host the Cincinnati Bengals on late Sunday afternoon. Baltimore, on the other hand, faces their bitter division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for the second time in three weeks, this time at home in a late Sunday afternoon contest.

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