Football Team

5 things you didn't know about WFT-Ravens rivalry

Football Team

The Washington Football Team and Baltimore Ravens are set to face off on Sunday in the NFL version of the Battle of the Beltway.

The team teams play their home games just 50 miles apart, but whether there is a true rivalry between the two teams depends on who you ask. Since they play in separate conferences, they only square off once every four years (unless they were to meet in the Super Bowl, somewhere Washington hasn't been since 1991).

Still, the close proximity between the two teams makes both squads certainly notice what the other is doing. 

Here are five things you didn't know about the history of the Ravens-Football Team rivalry.

1. Surprisingly, it's been fairly even.

The Football Team and Ravens have squared off just six times, as the Ravens officially became a team in 1996. However, since Baltimore's arrival, they've been one of the best teams in the NFL on an annual basis. Washington, on the other hand, has not.

Still, in the six matchups between the two squads, each team has been victorious three times. The combined score of all six games is extremely close, too, as the Ravens have outscored Washington, 104-92.

In all six games, the team that was victorious won by seven points or less. Meaning, if Baltimore were to cover the near-two-touchdown spread they are favored by, it would be the first time in the rivalry's history where the winner won by more than one possession.

2. Washington has started a different QB in every game.

 

Yes, the two teams only face off once every four years, but Washington starting a different quarterback in each matchup shows a testament to the franchise's inability to have long-term QB sustainability. 

Said streak will continue for Washington this Sunday, as Dwayne Haskins -- barring something unexpected -- will make his fourth start of the season. Kirk Cousins is the only Washington passer to have appeared in multiple Ravens-Washington games, as he was the starter for Washington in 2016 and came off the bench to replace an injured Robert Griffin III in the 2012 clash.

For the Ravens, on the other hand, Joe Flacco has started the last three Baltimore vs. Washington matchups. Of course, Flacco is no longer with Baltimore, as the longtime Ravens quarterback was replaced by Lamar Jackson midway through 2018.

3. Baltimore is facing a new Washington coach for the 5th straight game.

This Week 4 contest will also mark the fifth consecutive Washington-Baltimore matchup where the Burgundy and Gold have a new coach. Jay Gruden was in charge of Washington in 2016; Mike Shanahan in 2012; Jim Zorn in 2008; Joe Gibbs in 2004; Norv Turner in 2000.

There's been a lot more stability 50 miles north, where Harbaugh has been in charge of Baltimore since 2008. Before him, Brian Billick was in charge of the Ravens for eight seasons. With the hiring of Ron Rivera, Washington hopes they'll have finally found their long-term boss to turn the franchise around.

4. Washington and Baltimore play one another almost every year...in the preseason.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented all preseason games from occurring this fall, meaning for the first time 2016, the two teams didn't face off in the preseason. Prior to then, 2013 was the last time the Baltimore and Washington did not have a preseason date with one another. 

So, while the teams only play once every four years in the regular season, the two teams are a lot more familiar with one another than they would be with other non-conference teams. For example, the Ravens faced a whole half of Haskins last preseason, while Washington went up against Jackson in the preseason in 2018.

While the rosters are fairly different, there's at least some familiarity.

5. New chapter.

Sunday's game will mark the first time Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh faces a Ron Rivera-led Washington team. Both Rivera and Harbaugh are quite familiar with one another, however.

The two coaches were under the same staff with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, where Rivera served as the linebackers coach and Harbaugh was the special teams coordinator. Harbaugh and Rivera faced one another twice when Rivera was the head coach in Carolina, with each coach being victorious once.