CRAB BAG: The non-rivalry rivalry

IT’S NOT 10-2 (like it should be) BUT 9-3 IS STILL A GREAT START

Baltimore is off to a 9-3 start for the second-straight season and just the third time in team history (2006’s 13-3 campaign and 2011’s 12-4 season). The Ravens also started 9-3 in 2011 and 2006.

THE DIVISION IS STILL OURS TO LOSE

Though they blew their opportunity to eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from AFC North competition last Sunday, the Ravens find themselves in a position to clinch the division again this week – though they will need some help.

A Baltimore win in Washington, coupled with a Pittsburgh loss at home to San Diego and a Cincinnati loss in Dallas would give the Ravens their second-straight AFC North title.

Even if Pittsburgh and/or Cincinnati win, the Ravens can still lock up their fifth-consecutive playoff berth by winning on Sunday.

CONFERENCE BULLIES

The Ravens have won 10 of their last 12 games against AFC foes (and 14 of their last 17). Under head coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 41-17 in conference play, ranking as the second-best such mark since 2008.

BEST RECORDS IN CONFERENCE PLAY
(Since 2008)

1. New England Patriots (AFC) 42-15 .737
2. Baltimore Ravens (AFC) 41-17 .707
3. Green Bay Packers (NFC) 40-17 .702
4. Atlanta Falcons (NFC) 38-18 .679
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) 38-19 .667

KNOW YOUR ENEMY – STATISTICAL COMPARISON

Offense

Ravens

Redskins

Category Stats Rank Stats Rank
Total Offense

343.2

19

383.7

7

Rush Offense

102.4

23

167.2

1

Pass Offense

240.8

15

216.5

21

Points Per Game

25.3

9

26

8

3rd-down Off.

36.3

22

32.9

28

4th-down Off.

40

21t

73.3

4

Red Zone Off. (TD%)

57.1

10

52.6

16t

Defense

Ravens

Redskins

Category Stats Rank Stats Rank
Total Defense

372.3

25

390.5

29

Rush Defense

125.8

23

91.5

4

Pass Defense

246.5

23

299

31

Points Per Game

20.2

8

25.1

23

3rd-down Def. %

37.9

14

44.8

32

4th-down Def. %

50

14t

62.5

24

Red Zone Def. (TD%)

36.6

1

55

21

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“In my opinion, [Reed] is the best safety to play the game. I tell him that to his face all the time. I truly believe it. I’ve studied him, and I’ve tried to incorporate things from his game into my game — a lot of it I’m not able to do. I learned the importance of film study from him. He is the prototype and what anyone would want at safety. People can say you want big hits, but this game is about the ball. You can’t score without it. When you get someone back there who can get the ball, that’s what it’s all about.” – Steelers S Troy Polamalu on S Ed Reed

“There’s been a feeling in the organization for the past couple of years that Ray Lewis has been grooming Rice to take over as team leader. Rice has certainly earned that role. So, even when Lewis decides to retire, the Ravens will still be Ray’s team. It’ll just be ‘Little Ray,’ who has repeatedly stood tall when the Ravens have needed him the most.” – ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley (Former Baltimore Sun Ravens Beat Reporter) on RB Ray Rice

“He seems like one of those guys when I look back that just steadily keeps getting better. Joe is a big-time quarterback. He is. He is. I don’t know why he’s under the microscope. I guess all quarterbacks are, but this team, I don’t know. He’s a big-time quarterback; I think he’s proven that. It really doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks. We know how we feel about Joe as a player and as a man and as a person. He’s a great guy. Great guy to play with. Great guy to block for, and we strongly, strongly believe in Joe’s abilities.” – C Matt Birk on QB Joe Flacco

“The Ravens’ general manager has built a perennial playoff participant through the draft, and he’s done so by spotlighting the kinds of players the organization is now known for – those who play like they’d do it for free. Gritty, tough and with a love of the game. Hard-nosed, nasty and with a certain violence. If you were choosing sides for a street fight, think about how many Ravens you’d want on your team.” – NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on how GM Ozzie Newsome has built the Ravens

GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Marshal Yanda

Are there similarities between playing football and being a dad?

“Yes, there really are so many. Every day you have to approach football and being a dad with a positive attitude. I want to be a great dad and a great football player. Those are just a couple of similarities between the two. I also put a lot of effort into both to try to become great at them.”

What is your favorite part of being a dad?

“There are so many. I can’t really name just one, but I love spending time with my son and daughter and watching them laugh and smile and enjoy life.”

What is your favorite part of playing football?

“The camaraderie that the offensive line guys have is one of my favorite parts. I love playing with these guys every day and going to battle with them on Sunday. I love the competitiveness of the game. The want to win is another reason I love this game. You could call me a very competitive guy.”

You are known throughout the NFL for your tough style of play. What does having a reputation like that mean to you?

“It just means I play hard, and I don’t take plays off. I go hard every play, and that’s very important to me. I want to be a physical O-lineman every play and go after guys as hard as I can. Having that reputation is OK with me.”

What did it mean to you to go to the Pro Bowl last year?

“It helped prove to me that hard work really does pay off. You get what you deserve. In the end, if you work for something, you can achieve it. If you set goals, you can accomplish them. I worked really hard to try to play at an elite level of play and just a Pro Bowl level. As long as I’m playing at a high level, that was good enough for me.”

If you could eat dinner with two people, living or dead, who would they be?

“I’d pick my grandparents on my mother’s side. They are both gone now. My grandfather died before I was born, and my grandmother passed away when I was 8. It would be great to be able to spend more time with them and get to know them since I really didn’t get the opportunity.”

Growing up on a farm, what is one memory that comes to mind?

“Growing up, I lived on a dairy farm. My sister and I would try and feed the baby calves. I would always try to wrestle with the calves and attempt to ride them. That was always an adventure.”

HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! KEY CONNECTIONS

Redskins G Chris Chester was a second-round draft pick of the Ravens and played in Baltimore from 2006-10. Chester saw action in 73 games (47 starts) and helped the Ravens set a franchise low for sacks allowed (17) in 2006. Chester started at both TE and guard during his Ravens career.

Redskins CB Josh Wilson was a member of the Ravens during the 2010 season, playing in 14 games (nine starts) and recording 36 tackles, 3 INTs and 15 PD.

Redskins defensive line coach Jacob Burney was the defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1994-95 and made the move with the franchise to Baltimore in 1996. Burney served in the same role for the Ravens until 1998.

Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster was the Ravens’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach from 2005-07.

Redskins pro scout Richard Mann II was a pro personnel intern with the Ravens in 2003.

Redskins executive vice president/general manager Bruce Allen was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts as a 12th-round pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.

Ravens president Dick Cass represented the estate of former owner Jack Kent Cooke in the sale of the Redskins to current
owner Daniel Snyder.

Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta received his first NFL experience as a training camp intern with the Redskins’ player
personnel department in 1995.

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron launched his NFL career as the Redskins’ QBs coach from 1994-96.

Ravens NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu spent the 2010 season with the Redskins, posting 40 tackles (28 solo).

LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT THE EXPENSE OF THE RAVENS’ OPPONENT

Because Dan Snyder is pretty much the worst.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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