Is that enough to make you believe in RG3? After another miraculous victory spearheaded by rookie sensation Robert Griffin, even the doubters are beginning to take note. While the verdict was out on him during the first half of the season, RG3 has churned out more jaw dropping victories in the second half. Usually out of the top-2 quarterbacks drafted in a draft, one becomes a bust. All indications so far are that Andrew Luck and Griffin are going to have budding careers in the NFL. There have been many players that have fallen victim to the sophomore slump, but RG3 has a good chance to buck that trend next season. Cam Newton is experiencing it this season, and I’m not sure Griffin wants to go down the same pass. RG3’s latest head turning performance came at the expense of the New York Giants on MNF. Down 16-10, Griffin connected with Pierre Garcon early in the 4th quarter to secure the victory, keeping the Redskins playoff hopes alive. Conversely, their opponent in week 14, the Baltimore Ravens, hit a bump in the road courtesy of the ageless Charlie Batch and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are still are an impressive 9-3 on the season and in control of the AFC North.
The Ravens haven’t gotten to this point doing it the conventional Ravens way. They haven’t run the ball down teams throats, nor have they played suffocating defense at all this season. In fact, they have taken a complete 180 with no resemblance of the team from the last decade. Thankfully for the Ravens, the offense has kicked it into another gear this season, quite arguably the best offensive year they have had in the Joe Flacco era. No longer are they nursing Flacco and being protective of him, the Ravens are allowing him to zing it around with great regularity. Ray Rice has seen a dip in production, but nevertheless, the offense has been moving the ball. They score an impressive 25.9 points a game and are 15th in passing. Most notably, they have torched weak defenses this year, feasting off of the Raiders, Patriots, Browns, and Bengals. The Bengals have one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL, so putting up 44 on them is no easy task.
Flacco and company will be facing one of the NFL’s worst defenses in week 14. RG3 and the offense have been dazzling, but the defense has kept this team from being really good. This would be a scary team if they had a defense to back the offense up with, but as it stands now, that most certainly isn’t the case. The early season, season ending injury to linebacker Brian Orakpo set the defense off on the wrong foot. With a lack of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, the defense ranks 29th in the NFL, allowing a not so impressive 390.5 yards a game. They also allow around the same amount of points the Ravens score a game, 25.1 to the Ravens 25.9. The pass defense is particularly bad, giving up just under 300 yards for a 31st spot in the rankings. However, they are actually pretty stingy defending opponents running attack, only allowing 91.5 yards a game.
The ‘Skins offense is the meat and potatoes of this team. RG3 has been a jolt of electricity since his arrival this season. The only time the offense has looked completely lost is against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and when fellow rookie quarterback, backup Kirk Cousins entered earlier in the season against the Falcons for a half. Griffin has passed for 2660 yards, thrown for 17 touchdowns and scrambled for 714 yards with 6 touchdowns. Most impressive, is the fact that the rookie has only tossed 4 interceptions. A rarity for rookie quarterbacks to be making so few mistakes at this point in the season.
Ravens vs. Redskins Spread and Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +3 (-125)
@ Washington Redskins -3 (+110)
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ravens vs. Redskins Pick:
Just like the Colts, no a lot of people expected the Redskins to be in a position to make the playoffs. Certainly it appeared both teams had promising futures with Luck and Griffin at the helm, but the phenomenal rookies have taking the league by storm. In this contest, the Ravens and Redskins have gotten to where they are because of their offenses. A statement that would have seemed a little hard to fathom a year ago. The Ravens 25th ranking may actually be a little deceiving though, while the offense has given up big yards, they don’t break in the red zone. That has led the Ravens to allowing 20.2 points a game. Furthermore, the Ravens have been playing better defense of late. Since their bye week in week 8, the most points they have given up was last week against the Steelers, 23. They aren’t the defense they once were, but they are steadily getting better as the season chugs on.
While the Ravens against a good defense doesn’t impress me much, they can do damage against the bottom feeders. The awful pass defense of the Redskins could be in for a long game after holding the Giants in check on MNF. With one of the best teams in the AFC catching points, I just have to take them against an average Redskins team. I expect a close battle throughout, with the Ravens coming up victorious by a hair.
PICK = Ravens +3