- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2008

Redskins (7-5) at Ravens (8-4)

Today: 8:15 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

TV: Chs. 4, 11

Radio: ESPN 980, FM-97.9




WR89Santana Moss

WR82Antwaan Randle El

LT60Chris Samuels

LG66Pete Kendall

C61Casey Rabach

RG77Randy Thomas

RT76Jon Jansen

TE47Chris Cooley

RB26Clinton Portis

FB45Mike Sellers

QB17Jason Campbell


DE92Demetric Evans

DT96Cornelius Griffin

DT64Kedric Golston

DE55Jason Taylor

OLB52Rocky McIntosh

MLB59London Fletcher

OLB54H.B. Blades

CB27Fred Smoot

CB22Carlos Rogers

FS30LaRon Landry

SS48Chris Horton


K6Shaun Suisham

P1Ryan Plackemeier

PR82Antwaan Randle El

KR31Rock Cartwright

KR83James Thrash


Out: LB Marcus Washington (ankle)

Questionable: DE Andre Carter (foot), LB London Fletcher (foot), DT Kedric Golston (ankle), DT Cornelius Griffin (shoulder/abdomen), RB Clinton Portis (knee/back), CB Shawn Springs (calf)

Probable: LB Alfred Fincher (non injury), S LaRon Landry (calf), G Pete Kendall (knee), T Chris Samuels (knee), CB Fred Smoot (non injury), G Randy Thomas (neck)




WR89Mark Clayton

WR85Derrick Mason

LT71Jared Gaither

LG66Ben Grubbs

C60Jason Brown

RG65Chris Chester

RT79Willie Anderson

TE86Todd Heap

FB33Le’Ron McClain

RB23Willis McGahee

QB5Joe Flacco


DE90Trevor Pryce

NT92Haloti Ngata

DE94Justin Bannan

OLB95Jarret Johnson

ILB52Ray Lewis

ILB57Bart Scott

OLB55Terrell Suggs

CB31Fabian Washington

CB22Samari Rolle

SS36Jim Leonhard

FS20Ed Reed


K3Matt Stover

KO6Steve Hauschka

P4Sam Koch

PR16Yamon Figurs

KR16Yamon Figurs

KR27Ray Rice


Doubtful: DL Lamar Divens (shoulder), G David Hale (ankle)

Questionable: T Jared Gaither (shoulder), WR Derrick Mason (shoulder), S Ed Reed (thigh), CB Samari Rolle (thigh)

Probable: LB Nick Greisen (back), WR Marcus Maxwell (hip), RB Willis McGahee (illness), LB Bart Scott (shoulder), CB Fabian Washington (shoulder)



Rabach had his hands full in October when he faced 325-pound Cleveland nose tackle Shaun Rogers. Still, Clinton Portis rushed for 175 yards in a Redskins victory.

Sunday is an even bigger task for the 288-pound Rabach: Ngata is 345 pounds. The anchor of the Ravens’ defensive line, he has 58 tackles, one sack and two interceptions.

The Ravens’ rush defense ranks third in the league (78.3 yards per game); the Redskins’ run game is fifth (139.4). In games against 3-4 defenses, the Redskins have rushed for 161, 193, 60 and 92 yards.

Baltimore’s defensive front has the attention of Redskins coach Jim Zorn.

“You’re really confronted with six big, fast defensive linemen,” he said. “Inside, both Trevor [Pryce] and their big nose guard [Ngata] are just great. They stop you up the middle.”

Look for a lot of combination blocks on Ngata - Rabach being joined by either Pete Kendall or Randy Thomas to try to contain Ngata. Rabach has played well this year. He hasn’t missed a snap and has been called for only three penalties.


1. Get it downfield

It’s no secret the Redskins are having difficulty going vertical. In the past four games (three defeats), quarterback Jason Campbell is 11-for-35 on passes that travel 10 or more yards downfield. On throws 20-plus yards downfield, he’s 1-for-9 with an interception. With Portis gimpy, completing something downfield is again crucial.

2. Force three-and-outs

The Ravens lead the league in time of possession (33:55 per game) and have run 134 more plays than the opposition. Succeeding on third down to get off the field is important for the Redskins, who allowed three third-and-long conversions to the Giants last week. The Redskins have forced 40 three-and-outs this season.

3. Score a defensive TD

The Redskins’ offense will be lucky to break double digits, so it’s time for the defense not to just stop the opponent but to get to the end zone itself. None of Washington’s 14 takeaways have resulted in a return touchdown. The Redskins’ offense has scored on only half of those takeaways.



The Redskins haven’t reached 30 points yet. They’ve scored four touchdowns in the past month. Portis is banged up and they have to face a Baltimore defense allowing just 15.8 points a game. Campbell will be under duress because of the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme and because Zorn doesn’t know how long Portis will be healthy. The Ravens have 26 sacks and opposing quarterbacks have a lowly 58.4 rating. If Ngata has a big game, the Redskins will be forced to test the Ed Reed-led secondary, which has allowed only one 100-yard receiving game. Ngata, Reed, Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis have the advantage.

Edge: Ravens


Two things stick out about Baltimore: the running game and the points being produced. Led by three backs who all have at least 100 carries and 400 yards, the Ravens rank third in rushing, helping ease the pressure on rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. Fullback Le’Ron McClain leads the way with 545 yards and six touchdowns. And the Ravens are scoring - 27 or more points in their past six wins. Flacco has a 82.3 passer rating, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has been sacked 23 times. The Redskins counter with the league’s sixth-ranked offense and seventh-ranked run defense. The Ravens lead the league in time of possession; they have 24 10-play drives, but the Redskins should be able to contain them.

Edge: Redskins


Shaun Suisham has missed eight of 29 field goal attempts and the Redskins rank last in net punting, 20th in punt returns and 28th in punt coverage. Ravens punter Sam Koch’s 40.1 net average is fourth in the league and has put 24 kicks inside the 20-yard line. The cover teams are decent, led by special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo (25 tackles). But Baltimore’s return teams are in the bottom third of the league even though its average starting position is just beyond the 29-yard line, compared to the 26 for the Redskins. In a game where the offenses are expected to struggle, a big return by Antwaan Randle El or the Ravens’ Yamon Figurs could make a difference.

Edge: Ravens

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