News | Washington Football Team - WashingtonFootball.com

Washington Football Team Vs. Ravens Preview: The Battle Of The Beltway

opponent-outlook-weak-4-baltimore-ravens

After a road loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Football Team will look to return to its winning ways against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Week 4 matchup:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION

WHO: Baltimore Ravens (2-1) vs. Washington Football Team (1-2)

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 4 | 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: FedExField | Landover, Maryland

WATCH: CBS

  • Andrew Catalon (play-by-play)
  • James Lofton (analyst)
  • AJ Ross (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

A stream will of the radio broadcast will also be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • The series between Baltimore and Washington is tied, 3-3. The Ravens hold a 102-94 scoring advantage in those games.
  • The first matchup between the two teams came on Oct 26, 1997 (Ravens 20, Washington 17).
  • Washington has won the last two contests against Baltimore, including their most recent bout Oct. 9, 2016 (Washington 16, Ravens 10).

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Baltimore:

  • John Harbaugh (13th season in Baltimore)
  • Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman (4th; 2nd as offensive coordinator)
  • Passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach and assistant head coach David Culley (2nd)
  • Defensive coordinator Don Martindale (9th; 3rd as defensive coordinator)
  • Special team coordinator Chris Horton (7th; 2nd as special teams coordinator)

KEY NEW FACES

Washington:

  • QB Kyle Allen
  • RBs Peyton Barber / Antonio Gibson / J.D. McKissic
  • TEs Logan Thomas / Marcus Baugh
  • OL Saahdiq Charles / Keith Ismael / Cornelius Lucas / Wes Schweitzer
  • DE Chase Young
  • LBs Thomas Davis Sr. / Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • DBs Ronald Darby / Kendall Fuller / Kamren Curl

Baltimore

  • RB J.K. Dobbins
  • WR Devin Duvernay
  • OL D.J. Fluker, Tyre Phillips
  • DL Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike, Derek Wolfe
  • LBs Malik Harrison, Patrick Queen

BIGGEST STORYLINES

"Battle of the Beltway" -- Their stadiums are about 29 miles apart, while their fan bases largely coexist in the Washington Metropolitan Area. They've played each other for three straight preseasons before this year.

Yet since the Ravens were founded in 1996, the two franchises have met just six times during the regular season, the last of which came in 2016. Perhaps their most memorable matchup occurred Dec. 9, 2012 -- the last time Washington hosted the Ravens at FedExField. In that game, Washington mounted a last-second comeback to force overtime and then converted a field goal to secure the 31-28 victory.

There's always added excitement when these two local NFL franchises do battle. Expect this year's tilt to be much of the same.

A big early-season test -- Head coach Ron Rivera's biggest yet will come against the reigning AFC North champions on Sunday. Led by NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, the Ravens were the best team in the league during the regular season, finishing 14-2 and outscoring their opponents, 531-282.

The Super Bowl favorites eventually lost to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs, but they could end up being the best team Washington faces in 2020. The Ravens have won two of their first three games, blowing out the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

The rubber match between Ron Rivera and John Harbaugh -- Before Rivera and Harbaugh became longtime head coaches, they were both part of the Philadelphia Eagles staff from 1999-2003. (Rivera served as linebackers coach, while Harbaugh was the special teams coordinator.) And Rivera's relationship with the Harbaugh family goes back even further than that, as Rivera and Jim Harbaugh were teammates with the Chicago Bears from 1987 until Rivera retired in 1992.

"My brother and Ron played together with the Bears. So they were both young guys there," John Harbaugh told The Charlotte Observer in 2018. "When I was a young coach, I used to visit all the time and hang around with Jim and Ron. So there's a lot of good memories, lot of laughs. Then with the Eagles, we worked together, learned a lot. Just got pretty darn close and it's continued on."

Entering the 2020 campaign, Rivera and John Harbaugh have been head coaches for a combined 21 seasons and have three NFL Coach of the Year awards between them. They're regarded as two of the most-respected coaches in the league.

They've met twice as head coaches; first in 2014, when the Ravens secured a 38-10 victory, and then again in 2018, when the Panthers returned the favor with a 36-21 triumph. The rubber match will be held at FedExField on Sunday.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Washington's defense vs. Lamar Jackson -- The 23-year-old Jackson redefined the term "dual-threat quarterback" during his record-breaking, MVP-winning season in 2019. Not only did he lead the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns (compared to just six interceptions), but he finished sixth in the league with 1,206 rushing yards -- crushing Michael Vick's record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season.

If Washington hopes to defeat its local counterpart, it must contain the electrifying and transcendent Jackson with heavy and consistent pressure. That should not be a problem for Washington, which currently ranks second in the NFL with 13 sacks. Jackson has also been sacked 10 times this season, tied for fifth-most in the league.

Washington's wide receivers vs. Baltimore's secondary -- While Baltimore's offense lit up scoreboards, its defense ranked among the top six in the league in both rushing and passing defense. A big reason for that was the Ravens' shutdown secondary, which included first-team All-Pro cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.

This season, though, the Ravens have struggled to contain opposing passing offenses; they're currently ranked 26th in that category, allowing 268.7 yards per game.

Washington's passing offense has also struggled (188.0 yards per game), but it performed much better at times against the Cleveland Browns. As long as it takes care of the ball, Washington could have some success moving the ball through the air Sunday.

Washington's offensive line vs. defensive end Calais Campbell -- The Ravens' biggest offseason move was the acquisition of Campbell from Jacksonville in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. Campbell turns 34 years old in September, but he has made the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017. Since 2009, Campbell has averaged 8.0 sacks per season.

Stopping Campbell will be imperative given the Ravens' defensive front also includes 2019 Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon and veteran newcomer Derek Wolfe. It will also give Dwayne Haskins Jr. more time to read a defense that blitzed way more than any other team last season.

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Dwayne Haskins (625)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Dwayne Haskins (4)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Antonio Gibson (140)
  • Rushing TDs -- RBs Peyton Barber and Antonio Gibson (2)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Terry McLaurin (269)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR Dontrelle Inman (2)
  • Tackles -- LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (24)
  • Sacks -- DE Chase Young (2.5)
  • Interceptions -- DBs Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland and Landon Collins (1)

Baltimore:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Lamar Jackson (576)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Lamar Jackson (5)
  • Rushing Yards -- QB Lamar Jackson (182)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB J.K. Dobbins (2)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Marquise Brown (156)
  • Receiving TDs -- TE Mark Andrews (2)
  • Tackles -- SS Chuck Clark (22)
  • Sacks -- LB Tyus Bowser (2)
  • Interceptions -- CBs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters (1)

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 30th (288.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 26th (20.7 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 29th (188.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-26th (10.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 25th (100.0 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 30th (34.2%)
  • Total defense -- 6th (334.3 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- T-18th (27.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 5th (209.3 YPG)
  • Sacks -- 2nd (13.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 22nd (125.0 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 8th (37.8%)
  • Time of possession -- 27th (27:19)
  • Turnover differential -- T-24th (-3)

Baltimore:

  • Total offense -- 23rd (338.7 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- T-4th (30.3 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 32nd (172.3 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-26th (10.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 5th (166.3 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 19th (41.2%)
  • Total defense -- 19th (375.7 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 3rd (18.7 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 26th (268.7 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-17th (6.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 10th (107.0 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 23rd (47.1%)
  • Time of possession -- 16th (30:17)
  • Turnover differential -- T-2nd (+4)

OPPOSING VIEWPOINT

WashingtonFootball.com also spoke with Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink to gain additional insight about Washington's Week 4 opponent.

As the reigning NFL MVP, what, if anything, can Lamar Jackson improve on entering his third season?

"He did everything well last year, especially running the ball, obviously, breaking the single-season record, and throwing over the middle, throwing with pressure, he performed really well in the red zone, all those things. I mean he led the league in touchdown passes last year. So, he did a lot really well.

"But he can get better, especially in making throws outside the hash marks. And part of that is just mechanics. Lamar has the arm strength. I think it's just that if he can tighten up his mechanics a little bit, he'll just be more accurate on those throws. It's the outs -- 10-yard outs -- it's the sideline throws, it's deep over the middle, deep down to the corners. He can make those, but if he can get it to a higher percentage on those, then the Ravens will be a lot better if they need to throw the ball a lot and they need to stop the clock and they need to come from behind. If he makes those throws, they'll be a lot better, and it'll just stretch defenses, because everybody is kind of just putting their defenders in the middle of the field to defend against the run, to try to take away from Mark Andrews, who was Lamar's top target last year.

And if he can get his outside receivers more involved -- last year, the Ravens had the fewest amount of completions to wide receivers in the whole league -- then teams are going to have to spread out their defenses more, and it's just going to open up more lanes for the running backs and for Lamar to run."

What do you think are the three biggest storylines for the Ravens entering this season?

"I think the biggest one is can they get over the playoff hump? In back-to-back years with Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback in the playoffs, they've lost both times and been one-and-done. So Lamar has to get over the playoff hump; he's 0-2 right now. Obviously, he's the reigning MVP and he's done so much great, but that's been the one bugaboo. That's the one black mark on his resume, so he's got to get over the hump.

"Another one is can this offense do it again? They kind of set the world afire last year in part because they took a lot of teams by surprise. It was a brand-new offense unlike anything anybody had really ever seen, kind of a new take on the throwback offense where they ran the ball by far, by far -- not even close -- the most in the league and had the No. 1 offense. You don't usually hear that. You think the No. 1 offense in the league is probably the team that is throwing the ball a lot. Well, the Ravens really kind of defied convention and reinvented the way offense can be played in the NFL. So can they do it again? Or after a full offseason of everyone studying this offense and Greg Roman and Lamar and all those things, are they going to adapt and catch up with the Ravens? That remains to be seen.

"And then I think defensively it's can some of these new additions they brought in -- Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe -- can those guys get them over the hump? They were a good defense last year -- I think they were No. 4 at the end of the year -- but they didn't have a lot of pass-rush production in terms of just pure sacks, and [Don] Martindale had to bring a lot of blitzes -- he blitzed the most in the league. Can they get more pressure from this defense up front? And if they can, this defense really could take the next step and be maybe the best in the league if they get a better pass-rush up front."

Advertising