The Ravens look to bounce back against the Washington Football Team after an embarrassing showing against the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.” Who holds the edge?
RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Lamar Jackson had his worst passing output as a starter on Monday night, completing 15 of 28 passes for just 97 yards. He also lost a fumble on a strip-sack and was sacked four times for the second straight game. Jackson struggled to connect downfield but was not aided by his receivers, who dropped five passes, a single-game high for Jackson, according to Pro Football Focus. Despite Monday night’s struggles, Jackson is completing 68% of his passes with five touchdown passes and has yet to throw an interception. Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown leads the team with 12 catches for 156 yards but recorded just two catches for 13 yards against the Chiefs.
WASHINGTON PASSING GAME: Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins is the centerpiece of a rebuild in Washington. The No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 draft and former standout at Bullis in Potomac has just 10 career starts after taking over as the full-time starter midseason last year. Haskins has struggled with his accuracy, with his 56.4% completion rate ranking second-to-last among qualified passers. Haskins is also coming off a four-turnover game against the Cleveland Browns. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, a talented second-year receiver who starred with Haskins (and Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins) at Ohio State, leads the team’s receiving corps, accounting for 39% of receptions (16) and 54% of yards (269). Dontrelle Inman caught two touchdown passes against the Browns in Week 3.
RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens rushed for 158 yards against the Chiefs but offensive coordinator Greg Roman is once again being questioned after running the ball just 21 times, and only 15 times after the offense’s first drive. Jackson leads the team in rushes (32) and yards (182) but several attempts have come on scrambles after pass protection broke down. Backs Mark Ingram II (4.4), Gus Edwards (7.2) and Dobbins (7.6) are all averaging at least 4 yards per attempt. The Ravens rank second in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.7) and fifth in yards per game (166).
WASHINGTON RUNNING GAME: Washington has relied on contributions from rookie Antonio Gibson (31 rushes, 140 yards) and fifth-year back Peyton Barber (21 rushes, 36 yards). Washington is averaging 100 rushing yards per game, eighth-worst in the league. Brandon Scherff, one of the best guards in the NFL, is on injured reserve after spraining his knee in Week 2.
RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens gave up 132 yards to the Chiefs on 4.3 yards per attempt, with much of Kansas City’s production coming on runs from receiver Tyreek Hill and scrambles from quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Through three games, the Ravens are allowing 107 rushing yards per game, which ranks 10th, and have the second-most efficient run defense, according to Football Outsiders. Safety Chuck Clark, who forced a fumble against the Chiefs, leads the team with 22 tackles.
WASHINGTON RUN DEFENSE: Washington struggled to contain Cleveland’s two-headed rushing attack in Week 3, allowing 158 yards on 4.3 yards per attempt. Starting defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis is out for the remainder of the year after tearing his biceps against the Browns but fellow interior linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne have graded out as quality run defenders by Pro Football Focus. Linebackers Jon Bostic and Kevin Pierre-Louis lead Washington with 24 tackles.
RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens struggled to limit the Chiefs' potent passing game in any capacity, as Mahomes threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns and was not sacked. The secondary struggled with Kansas City’s unique bunch formations and misdirection and had no answer for tight end Travis Kelce over the middle of the field. Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen had his worst game to date in his young career, as he struggled in pass coverage and was subbed out for Chris Board in a late-game drive. The return on investment from the Ravens' defensive front has not yet arrived, as the Ravens have just six sacks in three games. The defense is once again among the league’s blitz-happy units but its pressure rate ranks in the bottom third in the NFL.
WASHINGTON PASS DEFENSE: Washington might be playing without two of its top pass rushers in Ioannidis and No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, who suffered a groin injury in Week 3 and did not practice Wednesday. But the team still has three other first-round picks along its front in Allen, Payne and Montez Sweat. Sweat, the No. 26 overall pick in the 2019 draft, stepped up in the absence of Ioannidis and Young, recording a career-high four quarterback hits and one sack. Starting cornerback Kendall Fuller returned from a knee injury in training camp to play Week 3.
RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Justin Tucker made both of his field-goal attempts and extra-point tries and after Harrison Butker’s miss, Tucker stands alone as the only player with a 90% career field-goal percentage. Rookie receiver Devin Duvernay’s 93-yard kickoff return touchdown was the team’s first since 2017 and a welcomed sight for a team that could not find a consistent returner last season. Fellow rookie receiver James Proche II has performed well in punt return duties, averaging 12.5 yards. Sam Koch is averaging 43.5 net yards per punt and has placed four kicks inside the 20-yard line.
WASHINGTON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Dustin Hopkins has missed one of his four field-goal attempts and one of his six extra-point tries. Tress Way has already punted 16 times this season, placing seven inside the 20-yard line. Wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. is the team’s primary returner, averaging 14 yards and 5.6 yards on kickoffs and punt returns, respectively.
RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens were outmatched on Monday night in a game that was hyped up as a bout between two of the top teams in the AFC, and perhaps the NFL. While it was the Ravens' third loss to Kansas City in as many years, the team is still 21-4 in the regular season with Jackson as the starter.
WASHINGTON INTANGIBLES: After a 10-point comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, Washington has lost two straight, with much of the blame falling on Haskins as he continues to work through growing pains as a young signal-caller. Head coach Ron Rivera has admitted he is taking a long-term approach in his first year in Washington.
PREDICTION: After struggling against the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Ravens get to rebound against a rebuilding team in Washington. Defensive coordinator “Don” Wink Martindale’s blitzes should land better against a young quarterback in Haskins, while the Ravens offense will have its way against a Washington defense missing key players. Ravens 29, Washington 13.