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Blognostications

2015 Week 9 - Patriots v Redskins

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Blognosticator - Knightingale

"I'll tell you this, in any fight it's the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I'm gonna have any life any more it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that's what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That's a team gentlemen, and either, we heal as a team, or we will die as individuals. That's football guys, that's all it is. Now what are you gonna do?" - Tony D'Amato

You may recognise that... It's from a movie that most football fans know well.

Vegas reckons that the 'Skins will get beaten to the tune of two touchdowns.

Ouch.

Fourteen points give or take.

It's our 8th game of the season and we're really banged up.

We're playing away, which the 'Skins do poorly, and the home team are top of their division with the NFL's best record. In our last meeting they beat us and lead the overall series between the two teams.

Their QB is having a great season, simply terrific and they're racking up a lot of points. In four of the last five games they've scored over 30 points! That's a lot of points for the 'Skins defence to prevent and for our stalled offence to create to beat them.

And us without RGIII either. Yeah he hasn't been under centre in a while now.

Damn, it would take a minor miracle to beat this team.

So right now you might think I'm talking about this weekend's game against the mighty New England Patriots... I'm not.

All of what I've said above is about a little game we played last year in Week 8 of the 2014 season.

If you're a Redskins fan (and let's face it you wouldn't be here and reading this if you weren't!) then you may remember it.

We didn't win much in 2014, but we did pull off an almighty upset against our fiercest rivals the Dallas Cowboys.

Let's look at the comparisons here shall we.

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Is it just me or does it make for remarkably similar reading?

(OK, ok there was a small fib in there. I said that both teams had scored 30 in 4 of their last 5 games before facing us, I didn't want to mention that the Pats racked up 51 on the Jags... And yes the Patriots have the better record against us, but I had to factor in the preseason games to get that to match. Please don't hold that against me!)

Well we know what happened next don't we...

We marched into Dallas behind Colt McCoy and upset America's team in their own home. Our defence kept their vaunted offense to a mere 17 points and the Redskins mounted just enough of their own attack to sneak the win in Overtime 20-17 and HTTR!

It was a joyous day.

I don't recount this tale and these statistics to guarantee that the gentlemen in Burgundy and Gold will be victorious this weekend. No.

I would be an utter fool to say that the odds weren't stacked against us. The Patriots are the cream of the NFL this season, and while we aren't the worst team in the League, we're simply not in their class right now. Honestly, hand on heart... it's not even that close.

Let's take a look shall we.

"In football, you have the offense and the defence. You can't have one without the other. Respect will be paid." - Luther 'Shark' Lavay

Never has this been more true.

Lately we've been killed on Time of Possession. It's hurting us. Our Offense hasn't been able to stay on the field which means our defence has had to. It's a bad combination. We showed signs last week that our offense was getting back on track, but let's not kid ourselves. That was against the Buccaneers. The Patriots are a much different prospect, but if we can keep the ball moving, score some points and keep their defence on the field and not ours then we have a chance.

If the Patriots have displayed one weakness thus far this year then it's their run defence...

"You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second." - Tony D'Amato

...which might be a problem.

Because (as has been endlessly debated here on the BGO forums and in just about every other place on the internet the Redskins are being discussed!) our run game has ground to a terrifying halt since the first couple of games of the season.

I'm not going to go into the theoretical how's or why's here, but in this game more than any other it's going to be important to get that Run game going and grind out the yards and some looooooong drives.
Because we've got to keep their defence on the field. And we've got to keep their QB off it.

"You're a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It's the top spot, kid. It's the guy who takes the fall. It's the guy everybody's looking at first - the leader of a team - who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. 'Cause you make them believe. That's a quarterback." - Tony D'Amato

The Patriots have their franchise QB. And boy is he a doozy. Love him or hate him you can't deny he's one of the best to ever play the game. He's also something that the Redskins have arguably never had.

And they still don't.

What we have is Kirk Cousins, and how good he may be is very much a matter for debate.

This game could be HUGE for him. Coming off the comeback win against the Buccs he could really do his stock a massive boost by having a good game against the Patriots. Honestly I don't think the fan-base is even necessarily looking for a victory, we just want to see him hold his own and have a good game. Yes he will never be Tom Brady, but currently the 'Skins don't have a super stud QB coming in to guide this team to the promised land. For better or worse he's the man under centre. He has potential, that much is clear.

This is the big stage Kirk. Time to shine.

What else is a problem? Oh how about our record out of Bye Weeks... Since 2008 we've only won once in 7 attempts. That's not a great statistic.

On the flip side you all surely recall the last time we DID win coming off a Bye Week? That magical 2012 season when we finished the season with an unexpected, undefeated run and went to the playoffs.

Could that happen again?

Maybe. Maybe not.

If I was a betting man I'd say this won't be close. I'm thinking it's likely that Vegas is about right. I think we're looking at the short end of something around a 42-21 loss.

It's a big stage and I'm not confident that we can perform that well coming off a Bye-Week against the best team in League who have a QB tailor made to pick apart of suspect secondary, while our running game has shown now evidence lately it can exploit the Patriots poor run defence.

But saying that can we win this game? Do we have any chance at all?

Abso-freaking-lutely.

It may not be likely. It may be a hell of a long shot, but we proved last year that we can do it. WE can win these kind of games when we're on the road and a huge underdog.

But maybe more than a win this weekend I just want to see how the Redskins play. Is this a team going forward like we all hope it is? Is there fire in the belly of the Burgundy and Gold? Will we roll over and let Belichick and his pampered Patriots tickle our bellies?

Over to you Tony...

"On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. The point is - can you win or lose like a man?" - Tony D'Amato
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