Week 14 of the 2012 NFL season is upon us and the Baltimore Ravens will travel about an hour by bus down to our nation's capital, ok well Landover, MD as they take on Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. It is a shame that the NFL cannot find a way to ensure you play your geographic rival every year like in Major League Baseball, as currently the Ravens and Redskins only play each other every four years.
These two teams are coming into the game in different places, and not the way you would think. Washington comes in at 6-6 but is riding high on a three game winning streak and is now just one game back of the New York Giants in the NFC East. On the flip side, Baltimore is coming off of, quite frankly, an embarrassing loss at home to Charlie Batch and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but are still 9-3 with a two game lead in the AFC North and remain tied for the second seed in the AFC.
This game may come down simply to which defense can make a stop first as both of these offenses are set up to have a field day. Washington comes in with the number one rushing offense in the NFL average 167.2 yards per game on the ground, which does not bode well for a Baltimore defense that ranks 23rd against the rush. The Ravens have utilized practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon to simulate the Redskins' pistol option offense as Dixon ran it superbly while in college at Oregon. The key for Baltimore's defense will be if their edge defenders stay disciplined and play their assignments rather than reacting to what they think they see. Ravens' linebackers Terrell Suggs and Dannell Ellerbe look like they will both be questionable and a game time decision as having both of those guys will greatly help in trying to contain Griffin.
Washington's defense ranks next to last in the NFL in passing defense allowing just under 300 passing yards per game which may be the antidote for Baltimore's road offense and Joe Flacco who has only cracked 300 passing yards once on the road this season in six games. Flacco is coming off of one of his worst home performances of his career last week against Pittsburgh and will be looking to rebound in his own right. This game sets up to be a tough one for Ray Rice and the rushing offense for the Ravens due to Washington being very stout in that area allowing just 91.5 rushing yards per game, good for fourth in the NFL.
This edition of the Battle of the Beltway takes place at Fed Ex Field and no question the crowd will be raucous for both teams as there are plenty of Ravens fans making the short trip. Baltimore will be looking to notch win number 10 and all but clinch a playoff spot, while Washington will try to get above .500 for the first time since the beginning of the season and try to inch closer to New York.
We will have a special celebrity edition NFL pick' em tomorrow as the fine folks at WNST (We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports) have agreed to take me on in the pick' em challenge. We will have hosts from three of their radio shows as well as the owner himself seeing if they can beat the Ravens101 writer/editor.
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