Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Ravens rematch at FedExField.
“Redskins-Ravens: 4 Keys To Victory” is presented by Papa John’s.
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AVOID THE SHOOTOUT
The Redskins have gotten a lot of attention for their big play potential this year, with
But by the numbers, the Redskins are one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL this year, rushing 379 times vs. 325 passing attempts. This elite rushing attack is the key to keeping the defense off balance and setting up opportunities for play action passes and the read option offense. The Redskins are at their best when they keep all offensive threats viable
The Redskins have played a string of physical football games, including an emotional 17-16 victory over the Giants on Monday Night Football, but this is a game that must be won in the trenches. Stick to what works and run the football. The Ravens defense isn't what it used to be, and the offense much-improved.
DIAL UP THE PASS RUSH
The Ravens enter Week 14 tied for fifth-worst in the NFL in pass protection, yielding 29 sacks, including eight in the last two weeks. Flacco uses his size and athleticism to evade the rush, but the Redskins need to take advantage and force him to make decisions before he is ready.
Establishing a consistent pass rush early in the game will take pressure off the Redskins' secondary, which will be missing cornerback
GO GO GARCON
Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon has had an undeniable impact on the Redskins' success this season, as Washington has gone 5-1 in games he played. During the Redskins' current three-game winning streak, Garcon has a team-high 15 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clincher on Monday Night.
Head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan told the media a month ago that an injured Garcon was better than no Garcon at all, and the results speak for themselves. After a week of playing decoy for other receivers against the Eagles, Garcon came alive with a 59-yard touchdown catch and run against Dallas. He gave Redskins' fans deja vu last week, catching a 35-yard pass on a similar route over the middle.
When he is in the lineup, Garcon creates mismatches with his speed and opens up opportunities for other receivers on offense. Just imagine his potential when he finally gets healthy.
CAPTURE THE SPARK ON SPECIAL TEAMS
Sunday's game offers three intriguing special teams' matchups of two rookie kickers, two veteran punters and a pair of electric returners.
Ravens returner Jacoby Jones is the NFL leader in touchdown returns, with two on kickoffs and one off a punt return. He has been a beneficiary of good blocking this season, but also possesses elite speed and good decision-making. Redskins returner
Ravens rookie Justin Tucker and Redskins kicker