Week 14: Ravens-Redskins preview

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Baltimore at Washington
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FedExField, Landover, Md. - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 713
*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
*Keys to the game: The Ravens' deficiencies in their injury-plagued secondary were on full display as 37-year-old QB Charlie Batch picked them apart during Pittsburgh's win at Baltimore last week. The Ravens have to rely on the pass rush to get home, but that's no easy task when having to brace for Washington's dynamic ground game and then trying to hem in QB Robert Griffin III. That creates a lot of one-on-one matchups downfield and puts Baltimore in a precarious position. Ravens RB Ray Rice had only 13 touches last week and needs to be more involved so Baltimore doesn't find itself on the lopsided end of the time-of-possession battle. QB Joe Flacco was under pressure and struggled with his accuracy against the Steelers. The Redskins don't boast quite the same playmakers and their secondary is routinely under attack. Flacco can stretch the field with WRs Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones and then attack the soft underbelly of Washington's defense.
*Matchup to watch - Ravens run defense vs. Morris: Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he knew he had a starter in Morris from the first preseason game. His abilities as a tough, downhill runner have been on full display, and he takes dead aim at a Ravens defense allowing 125.8 rushing yards per game. One of the underrated aspects of Morris' game, however, is his rare competency in blitz pickup for a rookie. Morris wants to be a three-down back, and Shanahan is confident enough in his protection skills to leave him on the field.
*Player spotlight - Ravens DE Pernell McPhee: Arthur Jones has logged the majority of the snaps the past five games on the left side, but McPhee returned to a limited role last week from lingering right knee and thigh injuries. McPhee, who had six sacks as a rookie, has dropped 10 pounds in an effort to regain some quickness.
*Fast facts: OLB Paul Kruger has five sacks over the past four games and leads Baltimore with 6.5 despite starting only three games. ... This is just the fifth meeting, with Baltimore winning three of the first four.
With both secondaries undermanned, scoring should be plentiful. The Redskins can control the clock and hit quick strikes in the passing game, but the Ravens squeak by with Washington unable to mount enough pressure on Joe Flacco.
*Our pick: Ravens 31-28