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Washington vs Baltimore: Week 4 preview and predictions | PFN

After an upsetting Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Football Team must find a way to look like a competent unit against the Baltimore Ravens. They’ll be facing one of the best teams in the NFL, so a loss is understandable as the team is still in a rebuilding year. However, if Dwayne Haskins has another performance as he did against Cleveland, Head Coach Ron Rivera might start considering the option of another quarterback starting. Can Washington keep the matchup against Baltimore in Week 4 competitive, or will Baltimore pull away early and never let up?

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Washington vs Baltimore Week 4 preview

Baltimore Ravens preview

As everyone knows, the Ravens dynamic offense is led by the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. They’re offensive coordinator Greg Roman is one of the most innovative offensive minds in football, and he’s has designed one of most prolific offenses in the NFL. The Ravens led all of football in rushing yards last year, and they currently place fifth in the NFL this year. Expect Roman to try and attack Washington’s porous safeties in the open field. Washington’s defense must play its best game to date if they want any chance of keeping the score close.

Baltimore’s pass offense is not that frightening. Outside of tight end Mark Andrews, they don’t have an above-average pass catcher. They’re one of the few teams in the NFL with a wide receiving corps arguably worse than Washington’s. As long as Washington can subdue Andrews, they should be able to make life difficult on Jackson as a passer.

Related | What’s next for Washington after Chase Young’s injury?

The Baltimore defense is much more pedestrian than their offense is. At 14th in pass yards allowed and 10th in rush yards allowed, they’re still a slightly above average unit. The front seven is stout and the deepest unit on the defense. They’ll make life tough on Washington, but they’re only the third-best defensive line Washington will have faced this season.

Baltimore’s top defensive unit is the cornerbacks. The duo of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters is arguably the top cornerback tandem in the NFL. Humphrey just recently became the second-highest-paid cornerback in football, and rightfully so. The team did move on from Earl Thomas this offseason so the backend is still susceptible to the deep pass. Though I’m not sure Washington has the capability of burning a team deep.

Washington had a very good chance of defeating the Cleveland Browns last week. Their defense was dominating, and the Cleveland defense is ravaged by injuries. Unfortunately, five turnovers by the Washington offense caused the game to go differently, and they lost a game they could have won 34-20. If Washington is losing to teams they have the capacity to beat by 14, how are they can perform against one of the most lethal offenses in football?

First things first, Haskins has to be better. The defense is good enough that an average offense will win games. The NFC East is in shambles and an 8-8 record could be a playoff spot. Washington has the talent and coaching to get there. However, Haskins and the offense haven’t been able to get out of their own way through the first three weeks. Until we see signs of growth and ample development, a loss should be the expected outcome for every game.

Related | What if the Washington Football Team needs a quarterback in 2021?

On defense, Washington has been spectacular. The defense is a top 10 unit, and you’ll find it difficult to make a decent argument saying otherwise. Despite losing Matt Ioannidis and Chase Young, the defensive line still consistently won the battle at the line of scrimmage against Cleveland. The defensive line is one of the best units in the NFL, and it’s done a great job stuffing the run in the backfield and opening up the linebackers to make plays sideline to sideline.

Washington has also had impressive cornerback play, something few people expected coming into the year. With the return of a healthy Kendall Fuller, the unit got even better this past week. The biggest issue on defense has been the awful safety play. Landon Collins has yet to play near the level of his contract and Troy Apke might be the worst starting football player in the NFL. During the offseason, I expect safety to be an area they desperately look to improve.

Overview

The Washington vs Baltimore Week 4 match-up is expected to be a blowout and for good reason. The Ravens come in as 13.5 point favorites, and based on last week, even that seems low. Washington’s offense is now losing games for the team, and making the defense suffer for the offensive ineptitude. Haskins must have a strong game against Baltimore if he wants to silence any doubters. Washington doesn’t need to win, but keeping it close is paramount.

Oli Hodgkinson: 38-14

Ian Cummings: 37-19

Matt Valdovinos: 37-17

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