The Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens have not been playing particularly well on offense in the preseason, but one team’s concerns at quarterback are different – and far more severe – when compared to the other’s. How will these teams respond to this specific situation?
What We Know About The Coaches
Jay Gruden of the Redskins is 5-1 in the preseason and 2-0 this year after beating Detroit last week. Gruden is winning preseason games on a bad team. It’s one of those things where the coach really isn’t that good on a general level, and doesn’t have all that much to work with as a team in the regular season, but the patterns of preseason football work to his advantage. Backups have won each of Washington’s first two games, as opposed to the starters building a big lead the backups merely held on to.
John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens is 20-10 in the preseason, and 1-1 this year, after his team lost by a 40-17 score to the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s not a matter of Baltimore being a bad team. Philadelphia and Chip Kelly have created a preseason team that treats games like regular season events. The Eagles have scored over 35 points in each of their first two preseason games. You shouldn’t necessarily be scared away from Baltimore as an NFL pick here solely because of what happened in Philadelphia a few days ago. Harbaugh is a coach who wins in the preseason, but also has a good team which goes out and wins in the regular season as well. Call this an even matchup within the confines of the preseason.
The Washington Redskins are in big trouble here. Robert Griffin III got injured in the team’s most recent preseason game. He took an absolute pounding and is very likely to not play in this game. Where will the Redskins’ answer be at quarterback? It will have to be Kirk Cousins, who has not been sharp in his career to date, despite offering an occasional and teasing hint that he might blossom into a better player. Those moments of quality just don’t last, though. Cousins is not someone who should be trusted.
The Ravens did not exactly play well against the Eagles. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw interceptions on each of Baltimore’s first two possessions. You’ve seen this so often, though, from Flacco, that you’re used to it: He will look awful in some games but then, when the playoffs come and he’s playing the New England Patriots, he’ll look outstanding. That’s just how Flacco rolls. He’ll probably be better in this game than he was last week, but you can’t know for sure. Give Baltimore a narrow edge.
Team Depth & Rotations
The Redskins will be without linebacker Adam Hayward, who also plays on special teams. That is the other big injury beyond RGIII.
The Ravens have a real problem on their offensive line. Six linemen did not play against Philly, and tackle James Hurst and offensive lineman De’Ondre Wesley got hurt against the Eagles. That’s bad news, and it gives the edge here to the Redskins.
Outlook & Pick
The depth and breadth of injuries to Baltimore’s offensive line makes it hard to see how the Ravens will score consistently. Take Washington and its backups over Baltimore’s banged-up offensive line. With the Redskins depth at quarterback, that should be the difference.
NFL Pick: Redskins +4 at Bovada