Baltimore Ravens (9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 9th, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
TV: CBS/DirecTV 713
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bal +2.5/Wash -2.5
Over/Under Total: 47
The Baltimore Ravens are the next team assigned the task of trying to contain red-hot rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, when the Ravens travel to FedEx Field in Landover to take on the surging Washington Redskins in an AFC-NFC tussle Sunday afternoon on CBS.
RG3 and the Redskins have taken the entire NFC East behind the woodshed for a beat down in the past three weeks, including an exciting come-from-behind win over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Monday Night Football, 17-16. Once left for dead by their own head coach following a disappointing loss to Carolina, now the Redskins three-game sweep has put them a game behind the Giants in the race for the NFC East title and right back into the playoff conversation in the NFC.
But it’s hard to think playoffs without thinking about the Ravens, since Baltimore has been a perennial playoff team since head coach John Harbaugh took over. The Ravens had their four-game win streak snapped by their hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend, 23-20, so they’ll not only be trying to rebound and get back into the win column against RG3 and the Skins, but with a win the Ravens can secure an AFC playoff spot for the fifth season in a row.
Oddsmakers originally set the Sunday Ravens-Redskins game as a pick ’em, but with RG3 and the Redskins big win over the Giants only minutes old and still very fresh in most bettor’s minds, the point spread shot up instantly to the Redskins minus -1.5 or even -2.5 at some offshore sportsbooks as the money came pouring in on the Skins.
The over/under total opened at 47 and has gone up the hook to 47.5 at a handful of books, but it still remains at 47 at a large majority of sportsbooks and properties in Las Vegas as there just hasn’t been enough time to move the number yet.
It should be interesting to watch how the Ravens choose to attack the Redskins on offense this Sunday, since it’s been well documented that their offensive isn’t as effective on the road, especially quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore only averages 16.5 points per game on the road this season, well below their 25.2 ppg average for the season.
Flacco also struggles on the road, but considering the Redskins are leading the league in allowing pass plays of over 20-plus yards and are 31st in the NFL allowing 299 yards a game in the air, a good game from Flacco will be necessary for the Ravens to pull off the task of cooling down RG3 and the Skins.
It will also be very interesting to watch how the Ravens attempt to slow down Griffin and the “pistol” offense he’s perfected and brought into the NFL this season. Baltimore’s defense is nowhere near what it used to be (25th overall), and they’ll likely be missing Terrell Suggs, as well as Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb the Ravens best defenders at all three levels. The same defense allowed a very immobile Charlie Batch to carve them up last week against the Steelers, so the sky is the limit for RG3 and fellow rookie Alfred Morris when they step into the huddle on Sunday.
The Ravens best option may be to try and turn the game into a track meet and outscore the Redskins, making a wager on the over of 47 a very attractive proposition. But considering the fact that the last four times these two have met on the field has ended under the total (under is 6-1 since 1995), it would go against the trend and history as well.
Baltimore won the last meeting in 2008, 24-10, as well as their last visit to D.C. by a score of, 17-10. But as the one fan’s sign read on MNF the Redskins have been waiting 80 years for a player like RG3 to come along and it’s safe to say that history is changing in front of our eyes with this rookie.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Ravens just havent been the same team on the road this season so for that reason I’m going with the Skins who are starting to demand respect around the leage.
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