By: Russ Goldman
The Patriots (9-3) are coming off of a home victory against the Colts, and are back in action on Sunday to face the Washington Redskins (4-8) on the road at FedEx Field. Here’s a preview with my five keys to the game that I hope will lead to a Patriots victory.
WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be shown live on WBZ Channel 4 at 1:00 PM EST. You can also listen to the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.
The Redskins are coming off of a 34-19 home loss to the New York Jets last Sunday, and overall it certainly has been a disappointing season in Washington. I feel this is a team that the Patriots should really handle.
On offense, this unit has really struggled for the Redskins this season. They are only averaging a little over 16 points per game. The real problem on offense starts at the top, and that is quarterback Rex Grossman. He has a 57% completion rate this season, along with throwing 15 interceptions, and only having 10 touchdowns. He is a quarterback that most defenses can take advantage of.
However, Grossman does have some weapons on offense with tight end Fred Davis leading the team with 59 receptions. Former Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney is second in receptions with 46 this season.
To top it off, their running game has not been effective at all this season as they are 31st in the NFL in rushing averaging only 87.5 yards per game. In concluding this is an offense, that the Patriots defense should be able to contain.
On defense, this is a unit that could test Tom Brady and the offense. They have 2 intimidating outside linebackers that can get after the quarterback. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo have combined for 12.5 sacks, and will test the Patriots offensive line.
Another standout on this defense is inside linebacker London Fletcher. He is still a solid player after all of these years, and already has 124 tackles. Overall, this is a solid defense that the Patriots will need to respect.
As stated earlier, the Redskins have had a sub-par season, and I think they will continue their below average play against the Patriots on Sunday. I do feel strongly the Patriots will win this game comfortably.
Here are my “five keys” which I believe could play a role in a potential victory for the Pats.
1. The offensive line needs to be disciplined in protecting Tom Brady. The Redskins will certainly be aggressive, and will obviously try to get after Brady in this game. You could see players coming from different angles, and that is why I think the line play is crucial against the Redskins.
Some of the Redskins pressure can be created by confusion. The offensive lineman need to do their own job , and make sure there are no blown assignments.
2. The tight ends once again need to have a big game against the Redskins. This is a strong Redskins defense, but it is a unit that can be taken advantage of by the Patriots tight ends. Their safety play isn’t the greatest, and with LaRon Landry ruled out, Rob Gronkoswski and Aaron Hernandez could have huge games.
3. Andre Carter needs to take over against his old team. I am thinking Carter will be fired up playing the Redskins, and the Patriots will need to get pressure on Grossman. Carter could have a monster game, and pressure by him could cause the Redskins quarterback into making mistakes.
4. The Patriots defense needs to contain Fred Davis. The Redskins tight end is the team’s leading receiver. They run a similar offense that coach Mike Shanahan used with the Denver Broncos. The tight end can be a huge weapon in this offense, and the Patriots will need to limit his receptions and force Grossman to find other options.
5. The Patriots defense needs to force Rex Grossman into making mistakes. Grossman is a quarterback who is prone to interceptions and forcing the ball. This is a game that I would play zone defense, and keep the play in front of you. Grossman could make errors if the Patriots play disciplined defense.
The Redskins have really struggled this season, and I don’t see that changing against the Patriots. I feel the Patriots will dominate this match-up and I am predicting a 41-14 Patriots victory against the Redskins.
What are your predictions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.