Time To Shine for Mathews, Chargers

The San Diego Chargers' season clearly sits on the brink right now, knowing that the club is just 4-6 and two games out of the playoff picture in the AFC. If they're going to stay alive this year, they're going to have to take down the Baltimore Ravens, who are 8-2 and sitting pretty atop the AFC North.

Baltimore's biggest problem this year has been defending opposing running games. The club ranks 27th in the NFL in rushing defense right now, and that means that the door should swing open for RB Ryan Mathews to get on his horse and put together a dominating game for the first time this year.

Mathews actually only has one touchdown to his name all year long. Though the league doesn't revolve totally around touchdowns, Mathews clearly needs to figure out how to get the ball rolling, or there are going to be some big time issues in San Diego. The third year man out of Fresno State hasn't had a 100+ yard game all season long, and he has had just 101 total rushing yards over the course of the last two weeks.

Baltimore's rush defense hasn't allowed a touchdown since Week 7, but there haven't been many great rushers in the mix over the course of those last few games. When the Ravens played against the likes of RB Arian Foster, RB DeMarco Murray, and RB Jamaal Charles, they allowed 604 yards and three TDs in those outings.

So here's the question: Is Mathews going to be a lot more like Foster, Murray, and Charles, or will he be like men like RB Marcel Reece and RB Rashard Mendenhall? The answer to that question might be the answer as to whether the Chargers are going to keep this season alive.

San Diego is featured as a pick 'em on the NFL odds on Sunday against the Ravens

November 23, 2012

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