Ravens-Redskins preview

Ravens-Redskins preview
December 8, 2012, 9:30 am
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Skins-Ravens 411 presented by AAA: RG3 vs Joe Flacco

Ravens vs. Redskins
at FedEx Field, 1 p.m. ET

The line: Redskins -3.

Last week: Ravens (9-3) lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20; Redskins (6-6) beat the New York Giants 17-16.

Series: Ravens lead, 3-1.

Last meeting: Ravens won 24-10 on Dec. 7, 2008 as safety Ed Reed had two INTs and returned a fumble 22 yards for a TD at M&T Bank Stadium.

Burning question: Can QB Joe Flacco exploit a 29th-ranked defense, or will he turn in yet another dud on the road?

Keys to victory on offense: The Ravens only average 27 minutes per game in time of possession. They need to keep Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris off the field by moving the chains, controlling the clock and getting first downs after going 3-for-11 on third-down conversions a week ago. That means heavier doses of RB Ray Rice. He needs 25 touches, including as a receiver out of the backfield. And he definitely needs more than 12 carries as he had against the Steelers when he averaged 6.5 per attempt. The Redskins are notoriously bad against the pass and the Ravens have game-breaking weapons such as WRs Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. No excuses for Flacco to have a bad game just 40 minutes away from home.

Keys to victory on defense: Stop Griffin. He's the linchpin to the Redskins' success. He must be forced to beat the Ravens with his arm, which is still possible because of the big-play ability of Pierre Garcon. Baltimore stacked the box last week, forcing a third-string quarterback in Charlie Batch to win the game and that he did. The Ravens had two sacks but couldn't mount consistent pressure, though they did hold a team to less than 100 yards for the third time in four games. Their coverage underneath was insufficient without LB Dannell Ellerbe. This time, they must bottle up the read-option and this game should get easier quickly.

Injury report: RAVENS -- Out: LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), TE Ed Dickson (knee); Doubtful: CB Jimmy Smith (abdominals); Questionable: CB Chris Johnson (hamstring); CB Asa Jackson (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps); Probable: DE Pernell McPhee (knee), LB Josh Bynes (thigh), WR Jacoby Jones (ankle), S James Ihedigbo (calf), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), FB Vonta Leach (ankle).  REDSKINS -- Questionable: LB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (ankle/knee),  T Trent Williams (thigh); Probable: WR Pierre Garcon (foot), P Sav Rocca (knee), CB Josh Wilson (shoulder).

Prediction: Ravens 28-17.