The focus this week has been on how the Ravens have won 15 of their last 15 games after a loss. That of course means that fate will intervene this week and hand the Redskins their fourth victory in a row, or it is a statistical novelty only proving that the Ravens have been a very good football team for multiple seasons and don’t lose many games overall. Of the Redskins remaining games this is the toughest and the truest test of if RGIII is ready for the big stage. The Ravens will be without Lewis or Suggs, and possibly Ed Reed. If Reed plays he will be the biggest threat to RGIII, but without him this game could become very interesting.
With a fully intact defense the Redskins offense vs. the Ravens defense would be a fun match-up. As it stands right now though this is starting to look like one of those match-ups where the team with the ball last will win, and for the last two weeks the Redskins have been able to be that team. The one bright spot for the Redskins is that the Ravens are not an offensive team Their passing offense ranks 15th in the NFL with 240.8 yards a game while their rushing offense ranks 23rd with 102.4 yards a game despite Rice being considered one of the best rushers in the league.
In some ways this plays into the hands of the Redskins. Without Lewis, Suggs, or Reed the Ravens will have a harder time making something happen on defense and RGIII will be able to impose his will on the Ravens. The big strength for the Redskins is their rushing attack having averaged a league best 167.2 yards a game and disguising the run so well that Alfred Morris is being tackled while RGIII is streaking down the sidelines.
If the Redskins can take advantage of the Ravens 23rd ranked rushing defense to keep Flacco off the field and from tearing apart the Redskins 31st ranked passing defense then the Redskins have a chance to make it a long day for Ravens’ fans that make the short trip down to FedEx Field. However if the Redskins can’t run the ball the Ravens pass defense is also ranked 23rd in the league.
As middle of the road as the Ravens passing defense looks on paper they still create turnovers having intercepted the ball 13 times on the season, but the Redskins defense is one ahead of them with 14 interceptions on the season. Combine that with the fact that both RGIII and Flacco limit their own interceptions and the pitcher becomes a little more clear. The Redskins have fought back to .500 because they are very good at a few things while the Ravens are average at a lot, but good at creating and limiting turnovers.
Football is about controlling the ball, the clock, and the middle of the field. With Flacco, Rice, and a ball hawking defense the Ravens are able to do that. The Redskins are at the start of being that team, but are missing key pieces on the defensive side of the ball. Pieces that the Ravens normally have in Lewis, Suggs, and Reed. Without those three the Redskins and Ravens are very evenly matched, and this game could go either way, but if the edge goes to anyone it should go to the team with the more dynamic player on offense, and if this season has taught us anything it is not to bet against RGIII.