Ahh the beltway, it provides so much excitement with speed traps, terrible drivers, out of nowhere potholes, but about every four years it does give us a fun football game, and tomorrow is that day as the Baltimore Ravens take the short bus ride down the beltway to take on Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. Every game has certain matchups that are more important than others, and this game is no different.
- Baltimore Ravens rush defense v RGIII& Alfred Morris – Baltimore ranks 23rd in the NFL in rush defense and will be without LB Dannell Ellerbe, who was ruled out of Sunday's game yesterday with an ankle injury, thus their ability to somehow limit the damage of the Redskins' duo who have helped Washington to the number one ranked rushing offense in the NFL will be one of the deciding factors in the game. Brendon Ayanbadejo will need to step up in the rotation to fill in for Ellerbe and may be one of the guys designated to keep one eye on Griffin at all times.
- Joe Flacco v Redskins pass defense – Perhaps more than any other road game, this one falls on the shoulders of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco for two reasons. First, he is coming off of one of his worst home performances of his career last week in a loss to the Steelers, thus he will be looking to bounce back. Second, he will be facing a defense that is next to last in the NFL in pass defense and will be without CB Cedric Griffin who was suspended four games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, so Flacco is set up to have a field day, but we have all seen how this offense performs on the road. This presents Baltimore's offense, especially Joe with a huge opportunity to right the ship on the road.
- Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin v DeAngelo Hall – Hall, who was in a boot earlier this week is going to try and give it a go tomorrow against the Ravens, and will mostly be matched up against Smith and Boldin throughout the game. The ability to work on Hall and test him early and often will likely be a huge influence on how well the Ravens pass offense performs tomorrow as Boldin and Smith will have that opportunity to get open or at least force the Redskins to provide Hall with some coverage help, allowing other receivers one on one coverage.
- Baltimore Ravens defense v Washington Redskins defense – This game has all the makings of a shootout, thus the defense that can either force a key turnover or hold the opposition to field goals rather than touchdowns is going to be a huge deciding factor in this football game.
Washington is riding high right now on a three game winning streak and trails the New York Giants by one game in the NFC East, while Baltimore is coming off of an embarrassing home loss to Charlie Batch and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but still lead the AFC North by two games with four to play. With the tough schedule ahead for the Ravens, this is as close to a must win game a 9-3 team could face, but it will not be easy as they have to deal with the rookie tandem of Griffin and Morris. It should be an exciting game to watch as these two teams renew the battle of the beltway.
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