|Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense has been inconsistent, but they were strong vs. Oakland and San Diego. (US Presswire)|
You'd think a natural rivalry was in order, but one has never developed since both teams only play each other in the regular season once every four years.
Even so, bragging rights are on the line every four years as neither Washington nor Baltimore wants to hear from the opposing team's fan base following a loss.
For the Ravens players and coaches, it appears to be another game more than anything, with the only twist being that the two teams don't have to travel far to see each other.
"I always said it would be kind of crazy if we ever had a Ravens-Redskins Super Bowl," running back Ray Rice said. "It would be kind of crazy, but it's going to be quite the game. It's not going to be any different than last week. It's going to be a slugfest."
Said quarterback Joe Flacco: "I think most of them are games for us that we prepare individually for. Because (Washington is) so close, I am sure there will be a lot of people out there that will have a little bit more interest in the game, just based on where the line stops for each of the teams. It will make it a little more interesting in that sense."
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who spoke to the Baltimore media in a conference call on Wednesday, was more inclined to liken it to a rivalry.
"Not being from this area, I understand how important it is any time two teams are fairly close, the fan base is usually one way or the other," Shanahan said. "It's split a lot. You go an hour down the road and you have all the Baltimore fans, and obviously the fans that we have here. I'd say it's always a little extra for both teams, because they have a lot of mutual friends that want one team to win or the other."
Searching for consistency: Flacco and the offense have been about as inconsistent as possible over the past five weeks since Baltimore's bye.
Against Cleveland and in both games against Pittsburgh, the offense has averaged 256.6 yards per game, which is a number lower than all 32 teams are averaging through 13 games.
However, against Oakland and San Diego, the offensive output was much higher, with the Ravens averaging 431 yards per game. That's more than what New England, the league's top-ranked offense, has posted this year.
Baltimore is still trying to iron its offense out with four games remaining. And as Flacco said on Wednesday, it all starts this week at Washington.
"We have to make sure that, first of all, we do everything we can to win these games and win this game," Flacco said. "And that's going to require putting points on the board and getting better and better as each week goes on. We have to make sure that we come out and do all the things we can to do that and get it to the consistent point that we need."