The Redskins travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens Sunday at 1p.m., but the coverage starts on CSN at noon. Weather could be ugly, rain is in the forecast as the East Coast deals with tropical weather. Here are five things to watch for the 'Skins matchup:
- Brick meets wall - The Redskins come into the Ravens game winners of two straight, and almost as important, with a much improved run game. In wins against the Giants and Browns, running back Matt Jones sealed the wins in the fourth quarter. Baltimore is a different level of challenge, however, as they have the best defense in the league through four games. It will be a challenge for the Redskins to run the ball against the Ravens, and it will be an important subplot to watch if Jay Gruden and his team stay committed to the rushing attack.
- Under pressure - Ravens QB Joe Flacco took a lot of abuse last week against the Raiders as the Baltimore offensive line dealt with injuries. It appears injuries are still an issue as rookie tackle Ronnie Stanley did not practice all week and isn't expected to go Sunday. For Washington, outside linebackers Preston Smith, Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan need to get to Flacco, but perhaps especially Smith. Arguably the 'Skins most dynamic pass rusher late in the 2015 season, Smith has been quiet to start the 2016 season.
- Lion vs Lion - Josh Norman and Steve Smith practiced, played and learned together while teammates with the Carolina Panthers, but on Sunday, the two men will likely face off against one another for extended stretches of time. All week, Norman and Smith spoke highly of one another and talked about their levels of mutual respect. When the game starts expect the tone to change as both men are fierce competitors on the field.
- Going Long - Spencer Long will start his second straight game at center, but this week he will be joined by Shawn Lauvao at guard. A veteran with a strong reputation, Lauvao should give Long a second anchor next to him along with right guard Brandon Scherff. Baltimore's front seven is one of the best in the league, and the 'Skins offensive line best be prepared for the challenge. Lauvao's return after missing Game 4 against Cleveland will be a big boost.
- Battle of the boots - For a few seasons Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has been considered among the best in the league, but this season, Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins can keep up. In a game that features a great Ravens defense and an average offense, field goals might be a big factor in what team gets the win.
Numbers & Notes:
- DeSean Jackson needs one 50-plus-yard touchdown to tie Steve Smith, Sr. for fourth in total touchdowns of 50 yards or more in the NFL since the 1970 merger.
- The Ravens defense leads the NFL in yards allowed, giving up just 256 yards per game.
- The Redskins come into the game with the 5th best passing offense in the league, averaging 287 yards per game in the air.
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