You have to give the NFL credit for doing some things right.
With the institution of “Flex” scheduling you can allow the fans to view some worthwhile match ups, as opposed to watching the repeated mismatches of this past Turkey Day. To be fair, important games are hard to predict a year in advance and who could have predicted that this game would have playoff implications.
Both Washington and Baltimore have first year coaches, tough defenses, and young quarterbacks and each has had their share of surprising success as they fight to catch the leaders in their respective divisions.
The Ravens are on quite an impressive streak as they have won 6 of their last 7, outscoring opponents 214 to 103 during that stretch. They have used an opportunistic defense (They have 5 interceptions returned for touchdowns this season) and a surging offense to stack up wins.
Washington started out quickly going 6 and 2 but have since lost 3 of their last 4. Most of the blame has been shouldered, perhaps unfairly by Jason Campbell who has thrown more interceptions that touchdowns during the slide. Clinton Portis remains the team’s top scoring threat but is perhaps starting to show signs of wear and playing against better defenses as his production has withered. Injuries have hit the team hard as ten starters were non-participants in this past Wednesday’s practice.
The Ravens will bring out the alternate Black uniforms for this big game and I see a few keys that will be important. Joe Flacco will need to continue to display the deep ball accuracy that he’s been showing over recent weeks. The Skins will want to stack the box and he will need to make them pay for it. The Field position battle is always important when good teams battle and punter Sam Koch has been an important weapon. He ranks 2nd in the NFL with 24 punts inside the twenty. On defense Baltimore will need to pressure Jason Campbell into turnovers and contain the top offensive threat in Portis.
The Ravens love to play at home and with nation watching it should throw on some special meaning to this contest. The Redskins are simply too banged up with players like Portis, Kendall, Samuels, and Carter to be able to compete. I look for the Ravens to be able to control the lines, the ball and walk out another step closer to the playoffs.
Ravens 23 Redskins 14