It is rare for both the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins to make the playoffs and win their divisions in the same season. The DMV's north and south football teams not only finished the year with the same record at 10-6 but they also squared off along the way with Washington beating Baltimore, 31-28 on Dec. 9. Both teams have used power running games and efficient quarterback play to qualify for the 2012 postseason. Winning football is back in the District thanks to rookie signal caller Robert Griffin III while the term winning is still nothing new around the streets of Charm City. But which team is the best between Redskins and the Ravens? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk looked to some local fans for answers before feuding with their own perspectives:
Darren Eyers of Baltimore, Md. – “It may sound biased because I’m a Ravens fan but Baltimore is the better team. They just reached the playoffs for the fifth straight year, and Washington can’t say that. If we’re talking about long history wise, then I’ll say the ‘Skins because of all the Super Bowls. But for now, Baltimore is better.”
Jermaine Johnson of Northwest, D.C. – “Redskins, all day! We have RGIII and they have Joe Fluke-o, so that should tell you everything you need to here. HTTR! Hail to the Redskins!”
Kelvin Brown of Forestville, Md. – “As a Cowboys fan, I don’t like the Ravens nor the Redskins so my opinion should be the only one worth value and as much as I hate to say it but I’m going with the ‘Skins on this one. RGIII is better than everyone on the Ravens’ offense besides Ray Rice. And the Ravens defense is getting old so they aren’t the same team they once were.”
Riley: They aren't too many teams hotter than the Washington Redskins. Everything they do appears to be working whether their running misdirection run plays or subbing in a backup rookie quarterback. How many teams can say they have two promising young quarterbacks to go along with a rookie rusher who just ran for a team record 1,613 yards? Football isn't just back in D.C. but it's better than ever and dare I say better than Baltimore's.
Green: Let's not forget that Washington at one time was 3-6 and their coaches were already talking about evaluating talent for next year. Granted, the seven-game winning streak is nice but Baltimore has been steady from the get-go this season. They've found ways to win and have played some pretty stiff competition from Denver, New England, Houston, Cincinnati (twice) and Pittsburgh (twice). They've also beaten both Dallas and the New York Giants. The schedule has been severe but Baltimore has survived through it all. They're proven and more reliable than the still-not-too-sure-about Redskins.
Riley: You also forgot to add that despite Baltimore beating Dallas and New York they lost to Redskins after RGIII went down with a knee injury and rookie signal caller Kirk Cousins stepped in. It's kind of hard for me to believe a team is better than a team that they can't even beat.
Green: It wasn't like the game was a massive blowout or something. Washington won by three points and had to go to overtime to do just that. Also keep in mind that Baltimore has been really banged up whether it was Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata or Terrell Suggs all missing time. Those players are slowly getting healthy now and talent means a lot when you're talking about who's better. Baltimore is clearly better, they just haven't been able to play to their full strength. The Ravens have the more proven quarterback, the more proven running back, and more proven stars on defense. That’s why they’re the only team to reach the NFL playoffs for each of the past five seasons. Meanwhile, Washington is making their first postseason trip in six years.
Riley: Talent goes out the window to me when you're talking about who's hot. Momentum is key to most sports and coming off a seven-game winning streak, clearly Washington at this point is better. It’s not about the past five seasons, it’s about now. Right now, Washington’s run game is at the top of the league and their run defense is top five, two characteristics that define strong playoff teams. Griffin and Morris just might be more effective than Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. And considering Baltimore just fired their offensive coordinator a few weeks ago, the whole structure of how to run a football team is trending in Washington's direction.
Green: Calm down, now. Flacco and Rice are one of the best backfield combos in the NFL. I like what Washington's doing right now but let’s wait and see what they do against Seattle in the first round of the playoffs. It’s one thing to reach the playoffs, but it’s a whole different challenge to actually win a playoff game. The Ravens are 5-4 in the playoffs since 2008, winning at least one playoff games each year. They’re the only team in the league that can claim that feat. Let me know when the Redskins can say the same thing about their franchise.