Believe it or not, the Washington Redskins have won three games in a row and are now favorites (by 2.5) to beat the Baltimore Ravens, extending the streak to four. But when these two teams meet, in the battle of the beltway, there's more at stake than just records–the fanhood of Maryland in on the line. The Ravens have upper Maryland and the Eastern Shore, while the Redskins claim the DMV. It's a healthy neighborhood rivalry that unfortunately comes once every four years. And after Jim Harbaugh's call to recruit Redskins' fans last season, a lot of people are looking to get even, including players.
To find out more about the rival, we reached out to Josh Michael and the guys at Ravens 101 to give us the scoop.
(Scary creatures, aren't they…)
Baltimore's offense does not have an identity issue, it is Joe Flacco's team and any Ravens player would tell you the same thing; however, this offense does lack consistency. The Ravens have been the absolute definition of a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde offense and this game will be a golden opportunity for Flacco and the offense to do some damage on the road for once.
The Ravens' defense has suffered quite a few injuries this season. Who do you expect to step up and slow down the Redskins' unconventional offense?
There has been no question that this defense has had to live by the motto of "next man up", as there has hardly been a week when Baltimore fans had to worry if yet another Ravens defensive player was going to be able to play or not. This week Baltimore will be without LB Dannell Ellerbe, who has really played well in place of the already injured LB Ray Lewis, thus I see Brendon Ayanbadejo being a guy that must step up today as he is lighter on his feet and will be one of the guys who will have one eye on Robert Griffin III at all times.
It looks like the Ravens will be in the mix again this year. A lot of people have picked them the last two years. What do you think about their chances this time around?
This year has been a very weird year in Baltimore, I mean this is a 9-3 football team, but you wouldn't be able to tell that if you listened to fans on sports radio stations in the Baltimore area. Fans just want to see consistentency from this offense. In my opinion this team does have what it takes to make a serious run at the Super Bowl this year, but the offense will have to figure out how to be more consistent.
The Redskins have a lot riding on this game, but it doesn't seem like the Ravens do. What impact do you see that having?
Baltimore saw last week against the Steelers that a team that is playing for their playoff life is dangerous as Charlie Batch led Pittsburgh over Baltimore, in Charm City that ended the Ravens 15 game home winning streak, so the Ravens know they have to be ready to go today against Washington. Urgency can be a team's best friend or their worst enemy, Baltimore will have to find a way to have urgency be the Redskins worst enemy.
This game is going to be a tough battle for both teams, but the weather could be a huge factor with rain in the forecast. RGIII will be a great test for this Ravens defense, and although I believe he will have a big day, I see Ravens kicker Justin Tucker drilling a late field goal for a Ravens 27-24 victory.
Thanks again to Josh for his insight, although we wish him no luck today. If you're interested in what they asked and we answered, check out the article on Ravens 101 (here).
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