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NFL evaluators make picks on Week 16's best games

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Gordon set to return vs. Ravens (0:53)

Stephania Bell updates Melvin Gordon's status ahead of the Chargers' matchup with the Ravens. (0:53)

ESPN senior writer Mike Sando asks NFL insiders to pick winners in select games each week. Three evaluators joined the panel for Week 16. This week's games: Ravens-Chargers, Redskins-Titans, Steelers-Saints, Texans-Eagles and Chiefs-Seahawks.


Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers

Saturday: 8:20 p.m. ET, NFLN | Point spread: LAC by 4.5 | Insiders pick: LAC (2/3)

The insider picking the Ravens cited two factors. He thought the Ravens' defense would pose problems for the Chargers. He also thought the lack of a significant home-field advantage at the StubHub Center would make this an easier road atmosphere than most.

"The way Baltimore plays offensively is going to be difficult for the Chargers," this insider said. "The Chargers will crowd more guys in the box, and I think you might be surprised, [Lamar] Jackson will take a few shots over their heads. Cincinnati ran the ball really effectively against the Chargers. Kansas City had chances, too, but could not commit to it as fully."

One of the insiders picking the Chargers thought this could be a rough game for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

"Jackson is basically playing a playoff game here, and I think it is going to be a little tough for him," this insider said. "The Chargers have speed on the edge that can actually get to him, whereas a lot of teams don't have that."

The third insider picked the Chargers while saying he could easily see the outcome going in Baltimore's favor, perhaps with a late Justin Tucker field goal deciding it.

"I think it'll be a really tight, grind-it-out game," this insider said. "To me, the key matchup is the Chargers being able to run the ball with Melvin Gordon back. You can run on them, but teams have not done it for a variety of reasons."

Baltimore's last opponent, Tampa Bay, lost its fullback early in the game. Before that, the Ravens faced a Kansas City team without Kareem Hunt, a Falcons team without Devonta Freeman and a Raiders team without Marshawn Lynch.