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Chargers Injury Report: Injury Updates On Ryan Mathews and Eddie Royal

By Dave Thomas

The race for the playoffs is here.

With five games remaining in the regular season, the San Diego Chargers are in a race with about half a dozen other AFC teams for wild card spots, with the possibility of winning a division title also in the mix.

First up for the Bolts is a test this Sunday in Baltimore with the Ravens, as both teams enter the contest with records of 7-4.

San Diego, which had a five-game winning streak earlier in the season, begins what is likely one of if not the toughest remaining schedules in the league.

After visiting Baltimore, the Chargers come back to host New England and Denver back-to-back, then finish the regular season with visits to San Francisco and Kansas City. Even though San Francisco is looking more and more like a team that could slip out of the playoff hunt, the other four remaining teams all have a solid shot at making post-season action.

Ravens Will Rely On Defense

Although Baltimore QB Joe Flacco has some weapons to work with, Baltimore still relies heavily on its defense to keep it in and win games.

Heading into Sunday's meeting with the Chargers, the Ravens rank 15th (32 teams) overall in the league in total defense. Against the run, the Ravens rank sixth overall, allowing 88.3 yards per game. Against the pass, Baltimore comes in ranked 29th, allowing nearly 265 yards per game.

With San Diego coming into the game with the 27th-ranked rushing attack (89.5 yards per game), it would behoove quarterback Philip Rivers and his receivers to have a big day against a Baltimore pass defense that is obviously susceptible to the throw. That said, the Chargers will need to run the ball also in order to keep the Ravens off balance, meaning Ryan Mathews and company need to be able to move the ball and sustain drives.

Meantime, San Diego's defense will need to play like it did a few weekends ago against Oakland, limiting the Raiders to a pair of field goals in a 13-6 victory. If Baltimore and Flacco get out to a sizable lead early, the crowd will be in the game, not to mention forcing Rivers and company to throw more often than they want to.

With a win, the Chargers would move to 8-4 and stay in good position to at least get an AFC wild card bid, with the AFC West title not out of reach.

With a loss, the Bolts fall to 7-5 and find themselves potentially looking up at a handful of teams in the wild card race, not to mention all but turning the division race over to either Denver or Kansas City.

Heading into Sunday's contest, the Chargers had some good news to be thankful for, with both Mathews and wide receiver/kick returner Eddie Royal having full practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mathews, who just recently returned to the lineup after an early-season knee injury, suffered a banged up shoulder in the win over St. Louis last weekend, while Royal has been battling a toe injury.

Having both Mathews and Royal in the game Sunday would certainly enhance San Diego's chance to leave Baltimore (Ravens are a 6-point favorite) with an upset victory.

Injury Report as of Thursday:

Jahleel Addae (safety) concussion - full practice
Ryan Carrethers (nose tackle) - elbow - did not practice
Dwight Freeney (outside linebacker) - non-injury related - full practice
Andrew Gachkar (inside linebacker) knee - did not practice
Ryan Mathews (running back) - shoulder - full practice
Tenny Palepoi (defensive tackle) - non-injury related - did not practice
Eddie Royal (wide receiver/kick returner) - toe - full practice

For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on

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