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Game 13: Redskins @ Ravens

Due to their proximity, this game has become known as the "Battle of the Beltway" as both teams play just over 30 miles from each other from Baltimore to Washington. Ravens fans probably have more distaste for their neighbors to the south than the DC fans do for Baltimore, as they have the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys to focus their hatred upon.

However, we all know that there is little love lost between the two cities and while they've played once in DC in the regular season, this is the first time in Ravens history that they've hosted the Redskins. This should be an extremely popular game, as fans of both teams will cram into M&T Bank Stadium in both purple and crimson jerseys for this game. This game is strictly for area bragging rights, as they are in separate conferences with other significant rivalries. At the same time, winning this game provides one city with the "one-up" on the other one and allows the winner to spew trash until the next time.

As Ravens fans, we hate the "Deadskins!" We revel in their losses and cringe when they succeed. Perhaps after the AFC North division rivals and perhaps the Indianapolis Colts (for some fans), the Washington team invokes the most negative emotions for Ravens fans. While I totally agree and want to see my Ravens crush the 'skins, these emotions will have no effect on my prediction that Baltimore will destroy their opponents this week (yeah, righhhhhttt!).

No question that the recent acquisition of former Dolpphin and Dancing with the Stars' Jason Taylor will have helped the Redskins defense, but will it be enough? The Ravens will be facing a still learning QB in Jason Campbell, who spent much of the off season recuperating from his severe knee injury. By week 13, he will either have fully recovered or may be on the sidelines. I say he will be recovered, but his effectiveness will be questionable. The Redskins play in a real tough division, which top to bottom, may be the toughest in football. Playing the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys twice per season will take a chunk out of their armor, making them ripe for a game that will be more emotional for the Ravens players and fans than the Redskins, and this added advantage will charge the team with the additional energy to put the "beatdown" on the DC team.

The Ravens will pound the ball down the middle between the tackles, with Ravens center Jason Brown and guards Ben Grubbs and Marshall Yanda blasting huge holes in the Redskins middle for both Willis McGahee and Ray Rice to rush through over and over. By the fourth quarter, their defense will be worn down and this is where the game will be sealed. While the Ravens will continue to pass when they need to, offensvie coorinator Cam Cameron willl keep the Redskins secondary off kilter with a variety and decent mix of runs and passes. Once the game appears in hand, he will just pound the ball on the ground, eating up huge chunks of yardage as well as gameclock.

The defense will confound Jason Campbell and new coach Jim Zorn will get an education of facing the game's most innovative defensive coordinator in Rex Ryan. The Ravens will beat the crap out of Campbell and we all know running back Clinton Portis will not be effective running the ball, as the 'skins will have to rely on the pass and this is where the defense will return to its previous years' opportunistic self. Look for exciting interception returns and the type of smash mouth football that has epitomized the Ravens during their successful years.

With another win, the Ravens are flush in the mix for a playoff spot and will set up a showdown next week with the Steelers coming to town with the lead in the AFC North at stake. That should be a great one!

Ravens: 23  Redskins: 9

Season Record:  8-5