Week 14: Baltimore Ravens At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackJoe Flacco has helped transform the Ravens into one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league. Statistically, the Ravens have the 11th-ranked pass offense in the league. However, when Flacco gets time and wants to throw the ball deep, he gives the Ravens the ability to make big plays. He is big, strong and confident and his line does a good job of giving him adequate time.RGIII has exceeded all the hype as a rookie quarterback. The idea when the Redskins drafted him was that he had all the tools to become an excellent quarterback, but it was his athletic ability that would allow him to perform as a rookie. However, his passing accuracy has been a revelation and he does not need to depend on his running speed and quickness to give the Redskins a consistent offensive attack.
- OffenseRay Rice remains the best offensive attribute for the Ravens. He has to be the top priority for all opposing defenses because he can run between the tackle, get outside and also catch passes. Torrey Smith is a solid downfield weapon who can stretch defenses. Anquan Boldin will catch short- and medium-range passes and can run after the catch.Alfred Morris has given the Redskins another credible ground threat. He excels at keeping his legs moving after contact and picking up extra yards. With Morris and RGIII running the ball, the Redskins have the top-rated ground game in the league. Santana Moss still has the speed and quickness to stretch the field, while RGIII also likes Hankerson’s ability to get open.
- DefenseWhile the Ravens are not comparable defensively with their previous efforts, they still know how to come up with key stops when they need them. The one thing that they continue to do is bring the wood and hit hard. Nobody on the Ravens hits harder than strong safety Bernard Pollard who punishes opposing running backs. Terrell Suggs still has a quick first step and may have an impact as a pass rusher.The Redskins play with effort, but make a lot of mistakes on the defensive side of the ball. Most of those mistakes come in the form of positioning that allow opponents to take advantage and make big plays. London Fletcher tries to correct these mistakes and is a nasty hitter. The Redskins need more from their pass rush.
- Special TeamsThe Ravens have the best coverage units on both punt and kickoff returns in the league. They have sizable edges in punt and kickoff returns and return specialist Jacoby Jones has returned three kicks for scores. Placekicker Justin Tucker has given the Ravens dependable field goal kicking and Sam Koch gets excellent height on his punts.The Redskins have struggled on special teams most of the season. They have had particular problems with their punting team as Sav Rocca has a net average of less than 38 yards per punt. Kai Forbath is a big improvement over Billy Cundiff (cut earlier this year) at the placekicker position.
The Ravens would seem to be a big favorite based on having the edges in three of the four categories. However, RGIII can be the great equalizer. He has been a superior passer and that’s what makes him so special. The Redskins would like nothing better than beating their regional rivals for a huge home upset.