BALTIMORE — Playoff football returns to the Charm City for the first time in six years as the AFC North champion Ravens host the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC wild-card game.
It’s the first postseason appearance since 2014 for John Harbaugh’s team, but Sunday marks exactly six years to the day that the Ravens last hosted a playoff game. That 24-9 victory over Indianapolis was the final home contest for both Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as Ravens. Now, rookie Lamar Jackson becomes the youngest quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game, continuing an improbable 6-1 run after replacing longtime starter and former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco in Week 11.
Baltimore will be without a key member of its secondary as slot cornerback Tavon Young is out after missing practices on Wednesday and Thursday and being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Young has been playing through a groin injury since November, but he didn’t appear to be moving well in a pre-game workout and talked at length with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and head athletic trainer Ron Medlin before leaving the field. His absence likely means more work in the slot for veteran cornerback Brandon Carr.
Wide receiver Chris Moore (shoulder/hip) is active and will play despite missing practice on Friday. He also went through a pre-game workout roughly an hour before the inactive list was released.
Despite practicing fully for the third straight week, guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) is inactive for the fifth consecutive game as veteran James Hurst is expected to again start at left guard. Backup running back Buck Allen is active after being a healthy scratch in the final two regular-season games.
As expected, the Chargers will be without starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane as the veteran defensive lineman continues to be with his infant daughter, who was born with a serious heart condition in November. His absence is a significant one for the Los Angeles run defense as it tries to slow Jackson and the league’s second-ranked rushing attack. Starting linebacker Jatavis Brown (ankle) was already declared out on Friday.
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (groin) is active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. He did not play in the Week 16 meeting between these teams, but the primary backup to Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon has collected more than 900 total yards in 14 games this season, making him someone to watch.
Sunday’s referee is Clete Blakeman, who also worked the Week 16 game in Carson, California.
According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 50s with winds 10 to 20 miles per hour and no chance of precipitation.
The Ravens are wearing their purple jerseys with white pants while Los Angeles dons white tops with white pants.
Sunday marks the first postseason meeting between these teams, but the Ravens hold a 7-5 advantage in the all-time regular-season series and are 3-1 against the Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is aiming for its second win against Los Angeles in 15 days after prevailing in a 22-10 final on Dec. 22.
Below are Sunday’s inactives:
QB Robert Griffin III
WR Jordan Lasley
CB Tavon Young
FB/DL Patrick Ricard
LB Tim Williams
G Alex Lewis
DL Zach Sieler
RB Troymaine Pope
G Forrest Lamp
LB Jatavis Brown
C Cole Toner
WR Dylan Cantrell
DE Anthony Lanier
NT Brandon Mebane