Keys to the Game: Baltimore @ Washington

Week 13: Baltimore Ravens v. Washington Redskins

Sunday December 9, 2012 1:05 PM

Line: Ravens -2 O/U 48

Well that was sure as hell depressing wasn’t it? Not only did we fail to clinch the division, fail to clinch a playoff spot, lose to our most hated rival, allow that most hated rival to gain new life and traction in the playoff race, but we lost to a 38 year old third string quarterback and made him look all pro in the process. Painful. Can the Ravens rebound versus a very red hot Redskins squad, or will they fall apart on the road once again? With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game.

 

Baltimore Gridiron Report Keys to the Game

1st and Ten: For the Love of God, Play Tight Coverage!!

If I have to lose my voice shouting at Dean Pees this weekend, so be it. I am simply baffled by the stubbornness of this defensive play-caller. In game one at Pittsburgh, the Ravens managed to confuse and stymie the Steeler receivers by pressing at the line and playing seriously tight coverage. In game two, they played soft off coverage and allowed the Steelers to open up the short range sideline pass. Let me get this straight… against strong arm, deep ball throwing Byron Leftwich you play super tight press coverage, but against limp dick, old man Charlie Batch you play soft? Are you serious? Press the damn line. Keep the receivers right next to you. Force Bob Griffin to wait in the pocket. It’s not that hard. Which brings me to my next point.

2nd and Long: Keep Bob Griffin in the Damn Pocket

I don’t know if Terrell is going to play, but if there is one game left in the regular season that we really, REALLY need him, it’s right here. If there is one thing that the Ravens must do, more than anything else, it’s keep Bob Griffin in the pocket, and away from the edges of the field. They cannot afford to let him scamper away sideways or up the middle. They have got to seal the edges and force him to stay back and throw. If they can do this they will win the game.

Griffin only has four interceptions all year. That’s phenomenal for a veteran let alone a rookie. He’s accomplished this by not being forced to throw the ball, and being allowed to extend plays with his legs. The Ravens need to keep him contained and force him to either throw it away, take the sack, or heavens hope, throw an interception.

3rd and Short: Run the Ball or Fire Cam Cameron.

If the Ravens do not come out with a dedicated ground attack on Sunday I may personally go to Steve Bisciotti’s house and beat some ever-loving sense into him regarding Cam Cameron. When it comes to yards per attempt, the Redskins are not one of the strongest run defenses in the National Football League. Although it’s true that they rank towards the top in total yards per game allowed, they are letting up almost 4.5 yards per carry. The Ravens have got to use their best offensive weapon and run the ball all over the field.

It’s not just Ray’s offensive potential that matters here. The Ravens have got to contain Griffin, and the best way to do that is to keep his gangling ass on the sideline. Running the ball controls the clock, controls the tempo, keeps the home team and the home crowd in check.

4th Down: Play Action

The secret weapon to this week’s victory is the play action pass. If the Ravens listen to my ranting and actually do come out with a Ray first mentality, that should open up the field for Joe’s lethal play action. The Redskins are the 31st ranked passing defense in the league. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers give up more yards through the air than the Ravens do.

Run the Ball with Ray, and then when they least expect it, play action the ball right down the seam to Torrey Smith, or right across the middle to Anquan Boldin. This isn’t rocket science. It’s hard to win in the NFL, but damn it you have to play to strengths and weaknesses. The Redskins struggle to stop the run and they sure as hell cannot stop the pass, so make them pay for it.

 

Extra Point: Joe Flacco’s Swan Song

Truth be told, I feel like Joe Flacco is regressing. Whether it’s frustrations with Cam, frustrations with the team, or Frustrations with himself, Joe just flat out hasn’t looked all that great over the last few weeks. He has shown sparks of brilliance, but for the most part, his passes have sailed, he’s been erratic in the pocket, and he hasn’t been making good decisions with the football. I guess one way to put it, is that he just hasn’t looked like a quarterback playing in a contract year.

This is his time to put up or shut up. He has to win here. He has to get momentum going, he has to prove to the world that he deserves to be a number one quarterback for a Super Bowl caliber team. I know it’s not fair to put it all on Joe, but as a QB in this league, that’s his job.

BGR Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs (8-4)

I think the Ravens win this game is a walk after halftime. I think there’s a chance it could be another nail biter, but in the end I think they will fall apart under the collective weight of mounting injuries.

Ravens 23 — Redskins 20

Matt Jergensen (9-3)

“Unless Cam Cameron decides to create a game plan that includes our offense’s best player I can’t see Baltimore winning this one. Washington’s defense is tough against the run but weak against the pass. That most likely signals to Cam that Flacco should chuck it around Fed-Ex all afternoon. They should definately use the pass to set up the run but since this offense doesn’t value first downs I can see the Skins wearing down the front seven with heavy doses of Morris and Griffin.”

Redskins 24 – Ravens 21

Gene Winner (10-2)

The Ravens usually bounce back after a loss, but I think they will struggle in this contest.  The Defense has problems containing the run and Washington has a great rush offense.  QB Joe Flacco has not produced on the road at all thus far. Couple that with a flawed offensive game plan in not getting Ray Rice involved on a consistent basis and it is an uphill battle.

Redskins 27– Ravens 23

Ben Zinman (10-2)

Ravens will be able to contain Bob Griffin and Flacco will throw 2 touchdowns. Ravens will win on a last minute score.

Ravens 28 – Redskins 24

 

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