Week 14 Preview: Ravens vs. Redskins
Washington Redskins (6-6)
Sunday, 1pm, FedEx Field
What a difference one week and one loss at home to Charlie Batch can make. Last week I predicted the Ravens to win a laugher and that the following game against the Redskins would be a game that they could “afford” to lose and still win the division, but now that is not the case. The Ravens are in must win mode if they want any chance of winning the division and hosting at least one playoff game. To win this week they have to beat the hottest team in football with a quarterback is who is playing lights out and they have to beat them in their stadium. Not an easy task. The Redskins are 6-6 but the NFL is a week-to-week league and records really don’t matter. This will be a major challenge for the Ravens, can they get it done?
Here is my take:
Redskins offense vs. Ravens defense:
Over the last decade there have been one, maybe two, teams that could match offensively with the Ravens defense, but those times have changed and not only can the Redskins offense match up with the Ravens, I believe they have a significant advantage. There are not enough superlatives I can use to describe RG3 and he will definitely give the Ravens problems, however I believe it’s stopping Alfred Morris and Pierre “The Waiter” Garcon that will be key for the Ravens. Morris has a punishing running style and if he is having success in the running game it will keep drives alive and ultimately wear down the Ravens D. You don’t rush for more than 1100 yards by accident, so the Ravens better be cognizant of him every time he touches the ball. RG3 has played well but his best performances have been when Garcon has played. Garcon is playing like the big money receiver they expect and seemingly scores a TD more than 50 yards every week. Limiting his big plays will be key, but also easier said than done.
Ravens offense vs. Redskins defense:
OK, if you have listened to sports talk radio the last few days you know Ray Rice needs to touch the ball more. I do agree Ray Rice needs to get the ball a lot more, however, the Redskins secondary is one of the worst in the NFL and their best cornerback DeAngelo Hall is hobbled and will not be 100 percent if he does play. Ray Rice is an explosive back but wouldn’t it kind of play right into the Redskins hands to run the ball and not test their secondary? Ray needs to get carries but I believe the offense needs to set up the run with the pass. Get Torrey Smith the ball on some bubble screens and quick outs and slants and let him make defenders miss. This will then open up the deep ball as the cornerbacks will likely press. Then after getting them focused on the pass, that’s when you start running Rice. Nothing the offense does will matter if the offensive line keeps playing like a sieve letting every defender through for a free shot on the QB. Jah Reid might be the worst draft pick in Ravens history and I have no idea why he is starting. If the O-Line can play halfway decent and Flacco is crisp, the Ravens will be fine. If not, it will be another pull your hair out, pray that they pick up a key 4th down to keep the game alive kind of day for Ravens fans.
Easy analysis here – Justin Tucker is better than Kai Forbath and Jacoby Jones is better that Brandon Banks, although the Ravens better be careful because Banks is perfectly capable of making a house call every time he touches the ball. The Ravens will likely need big performances from Jones and Tucker to win this game. They have delivered all year and nothing should change this week.
I was devastated by the loss to the Steelers on Sunday, but I am not going to act like the season is over and this team is no longer a playoff team. The Ravens control their own destiny and one win gets them in the playoffs and two wins can pretty much wrap up the division. The Ravens have yet to face a quarterback who has the skill set and decision making of RG3 so it will be a major challenge. The Ravens faced Vick in week 2 but I believe RG3 is a much better passer and more explosive so you can throw the Vick game plan out the window. While RG3 is the man, I believe it is Alfred Morris who will end up doing the Ravens in. I hate picking the Ravens to lose, but even with their record of 9-3 and the Skins 6-6 for a reason, the NFL is all about week to week matchups and the Ravens just don’t match up. I can’t remember the last time the Ravens lost two in a row but unfortunately I think it happens Sunday.
Redskins 27, Ravens 21
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