Experts Overwhelmingly Agree On Redskins vs. Ravens Predictions
The Ravens usually thrive in an underdog role, so you'll have to decide whether this is good news.
The pundits overwhelmingly believe the Ravens will get back on track after a 28-27 loss to the Oakland Raiders last week, and take down the visiting Washington Redskins Sunday. A whopping 37 of the 42 experts (88 percent) below predict a Baltimore victory.
Just because there's a strong consensus on the winner doesn't mean anyone foresees a blowout. All of the Ravens games so far this season have been decided by six points or less, and that follows a trend from last year when* *13 games were decided by one score.
Then there's this:
"Don't think this contest will be close? Since 2008 the Redskins and Ravens are tied for the most one-score games in the league with a whopping 24 apiece," wrote NFL.com's Elliott Harrison.
Who Would You Rather Have: Kirk Cousins Or Joe Flacco?
Former Ravens receiver Qadry Ismail shut down this "debate" quickly in the CSNMidAtlantic.com video below.
If I was building a franchise and my only two choices at quarterback were Kirk Cousins or Joe Flacco, of course Flacco would be my choice. * *
Cousins has won just 13 of the 39 regular-season games that he's started during his five-year NFL career, according to Pro Football Reference, and lost in his only playoff appearance last year.
Compare that to Flacco through the same time period (four games into his fifth season), and Flacco had more than triple the wins at 44. And, Flacco had five playoff victories at that point. By the end of his fifth season, Flacco was crowned Super Bowl MVP.
At this point, Cousins can only hope to work toward the success that Flacco has already enjoyed.
No, Ravens-Redskins Does Not Constitute A Rivalry
Just because there are only 32.4 miles between FedExField and M&T Bank Stadium doesn't mean Ravens-Redskins is rivalry.
Sure, there is a small percentage of fans from the opposing teams that are neighbors, but proximity alone doesn't make up for all the other missing elements of a true rivalry, including actually playing against each other more than once every four years.
"It's the border war that ain't, the blood feud that never was," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker.
"When the Ravens and Washington Redskins meet on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, they'll do so for just the sixth time since the Ravens began play in 1996. That's not enough for any real animosity to brew, players said, even if prickly feelings have persisted for generations between Washington and Baltimore."
Guess who agrees with Walker? Only Flacco, cornerback Jimmy Smith, Terrell Suggs and Reskins Head Coach Jay Gruden.
Instead Of James Hurst, Could Alex Lewis Fill In For Ronnie Stanley?
If No. 6 overall pick Ronnie Stanley can't go this weekend, we could see some shuffling on the offensive line.
Even though Head Coach John Harbaugh said Stanley "could probably play" against the Redskins, things aren't looking optimistic as Stanley missed another practice Thursday. It's his fifth missed practice in a row, and he called himself a "game-time decision."
If he can't go, instead of plugging James Hurst in at left tackle, there is another option.
"Hurst started at left tackle in place of Stanley in Week 4, but Hurst had trouble with Raiders pass rushers, particularly Khalil Mack," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown. "Whether Stanley plays or not, the Ravens must find a way to keep the Redskins from hitting quarterback Joe Flacco as often as the Raiders did."
Lewis started 26 games at left tackle his last two years at Nebraska and was a second-team All Big-10 selection as a senior. He only played on special teams last week because he missed practice due to a concussion, but has practiced all week. If the Ravens move Lewis to left tackle, either John Urschel or Ryan Jensen would start at left guard.
Matchup To Watch: Steve Smith vs. Josh Norman
I seriously cannot wait to see this matchup.
Even though the former teammates downplayed the trash-talking aspect of their games, it's bound*to get heated with these two uber-confident players. The Washington Post has the Smith-Norman battle as the top to matchup watch Sunday. *
"The two faced off for some 'epic battles' in practice, Norman says, and they're very familiar with each other's tendencies, strengths and weaknesses," wrote Mike Jones. "Because of the threat of the speedy Wallace on the other side, it might be difficult for Joe Barry to put Norman on Smith for the entire game.
"Smith leads the Ravens with 24 catches and 281 yards; Wallace has 14 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Quinton Dunbar will likely cover whomever Norman does not. He could probably use some safety help against Wallace. But the Redskins also will likely need to use Will Blackmon and/or Duke Ihenacho to help cover tight end Dennis Pitta, who has 21 catches for 200 yards. Washington's defensive backs have their work cut out for them as they face Joe Flacco and his explosive cast of pass catchers."