Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens Thursday Night NFL Preseason

Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens
Thursday, 8/25/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Baltimore -6
Current Betting Line:  Baltimore -4.5
Opening Total:  33.5
Current Total:  33.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Ravens vs. Bengals NFL Preview
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off an impressive 31-13 home win over the Kansas City Chiefs

Washington has started the 2011 preseason with a perfect 2-0 straight-up record (2-0 ATS) and can thank a quarterback competition for the early results.  Head coach Mike Shanahan started Rex Grossman during the opening week and sent out John Beck during Week 2’s 16-3 road win over the Indianapolis Colts.  Shanahan has yet to announce a starter for tonight’s game, but many believe Beck will get the nod.  “It really doesn’t matter who starts this game,” the second-year coach commented.  The former BYU star spent the entire 2009 season with the Ravens franchise and is use to facing their vaunted defense on a weekly basis.  Washington is 2-3 ATS on the road during preseason action.

The Redskins have outscored their two opponents by a 32-10 margin and enter this round of games with the NFL’s top-ranked offense and defense.  Washington has played Baltimore twice in the preseason at M&T Bank Stadium, with the most recent meeting coming on Aug. 13, 2009, with the Ravens winning 23-0.  Last year, the team ended up on the losing end of a 23-3 contest in the third preseason game for both clubs.

Baltimore expects to play many of its younger starters at least three quarters in tonight’s game and the game is sort of a neighborhood rivalry due to the two teams stadiums being separated by just 33 miles.  Head coach John Harbaugh recognizes that the contest is virtually meaningless, but still wants to build confidence in his football team heading into the regular season.  “We want to see us developing into a winning and a championship football team,” Harbaugh commented.  “If you watch the tape on the Redskins, they are dominating in the preseason.”  Baltimore owns the distinction of being the only team in the league to go to and win a playoff game in three consecutive years.

The Ravens have been concerned with starting quarterback Joe Flacco’s accuracy, as he connected on just 12 of 24 pass attempts in last week’s 31-13 home win over the Kansas City Chiefs.  Baltimore has looked at the tape and found an offensive line that has underperformed—causing the franchise to sign veteran tackle Bryant McKinnie.  The former Minnesota Vikings star was cut a few weeks ago due to being out of shape.  One acquisition that seems to be paying immediate dividends is wide receiver Lee Evans, who caught three passes for 68 yards in an impressive debut in Week 2.  Fans at M&T Bank Stadium will be glad to see Evans in a home-colored uniform this year, as he scored three touchdowns against Baltimore as a member of the Buffalo Bills last October.

Bettors will likely back the Ravens due to their 4-1 ATS mark as a preseason favorite, while the Redskins are 2-12 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points.

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