NFL Week 14: Redskins vs. Ravens preview

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Ravens,John Keim

Keys to victory

1 Red zone success » The Ravens rank 19th in total yards per game offensively, but that stat is meaningless compared to this one: They're ninth in points per game. Why? Because they're fifth overall in red zone offense with 19 touchdowns in 29 trips. Defensively, they're an uncharacteristic 25th overall, but ninth in points. Why? Because the Ravens rank first in the NFL in red zone defense, with only 13 touchdowns allowed in 36 trips inside the 20. The Redskins must fare well in here on both sides or they'll lose.

2 Stop the passing game » Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has too many games where he looks rather average, but he has talent and he has weapons around him. Baltimore has four players with at least 40 receptions. And the Redskins are susceptible in the secondary, having allowed 24 passing touchdowns, third worst in the NFL.

3 Ground wars » Baltimore allows 4.0 yards per carry, but it ranks 23rd for rushing yards per game. The Redskins are first in rushing yards per game. Obviously they will continue to test the Ravens on the ground. Baltimore likes to keep its strong safety about seven or eight yards off the ball, but if the Redskins can have him creep up closer to help more vs. the run, they can do more damage downfield.

Key matchups

LB London Fletcher

Still playing with a hurt ankle, he must deal with RB Ray Rice and TE Dennis Pitta.

vs.

RB Ray Rice

He's a tough runner, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He's an effective receiver, too.

RG Chris Chester

The ex-Raven has improved in year two with Washington. His mobility helps.

vs.

DT Haloti Ngata

He'll move around but lines up a lot on the left. He has four sacks.

QB Robert Griffin III

He's thrown just four picks. He likes to attack the middle off play action.

vs.

S Ed Reed

He's made a career of reading quarterbacks, ranking 10th all-time with 61 interceptions.

State of the teams

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are coming off a tough home loss vs. hated rival Pittsburgh, against aging veteran Charlie Batch. There's angst over the play calling of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after last week when running back Ray Rice carried just 12 times. But Baltimore has won 15 straight games coming off a loss.

Washington Redskins

Washington, as you may have heard, is on a roll, having won three straight. The Redskins are now in good position to earn a playoff spot. They're a game behind New York for the NFC East lead and a game back of Seattle for the final wild-card spot. Their play now matches the confidence they've had all along.

Examiner predicts

Yet another toss-up game involving the Redskins. Baltimore is 4-2 on the road but has been unimpressive at times away from home.

Redskins 23, Ravens 21

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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Author:

John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner