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Same As It Ever Was........

Previews and Predictions: Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints

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Most Redskins fans were expecting/hoping for a 2-1 record when the week four BYE came and they got their wish, but not exactly the way they wanted it. The Redskins lost at home to an average/mediocre Colts team yet beat a weakened but still extremely dangerous Packers team in week three. So again it's hard to tell who or what this Redskins team is through three games. Are they the dominating team that runs ball down your throat and dominates opposing offensive lines with their defense? Or are they a team that comes out flat and confused, makes a bunch of mistakes and are just frustrating to watch.

I'm not sure.

The bounce back from a bad Colts loss to a dominating Packers win though is something new.

It seems that the Redskins are a team that needs to start early, play well and then sit on their lead. It seems to be their MO at least for now. The next three games will really give us a clue of where this team is headed. If they can go 2-1 again at the Saints, vs. the Panthers and vs. The Cowboys this team will have a good chance winning the NFC East.

Predicted Inactives:

Troy Apke (Hamstring)
Shaun Lauvao (Calf)
Josh Doctson (Foot/Heel)
Samaje Perine
Geron Christian
Caleb Brantley
Adonis Alexander

Redskins Offense: As many of you know, I am a run first advocate. You'd think that I would go with that mentality against the Saints because the Redskins are currently the 3rd ranked rushing offense in the league and you want to keep the ball out of Drew Brees' hands as much as possible. That said, the Redskins in 2018 seem to be a better team when they start out being aggressive and score first. The Saints have the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the league but has a very questionable secondary. Jay Gruden may have made the blueprint for this game in week three as I would do similar things against the Saints that the Redskins did against the Packers. Adrian Peterson does want to be active in this game however. He likes to have his best games against former teams and arch rivals, so RPO and some screens or passes in the flat may help to give him an impact without having to traditionally run the ball.

Maurice Harris will likely be filling in for Josh Doctson and it will be key to have at least one wide receiver make an impact this week whether it's Harris, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson or some one else. I don't think the Redskins will win this game if it comes down to Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson getting the bulk of the passes.

Redskins Defense: So how do you stop the Saints, the NFL's 4th best offense? Pressure. Contain. Minimize. This is easier said than done. The pressure must come from the D-line in collapsing the line on runs and putting pressure on Drew Brees even if that means not getting a sack. Forcing Brees to hurry can lead to INTs. Contain is with emphasis on Alvin Kamara. The Redskins need to keep his runs to a minimal gain and make sure that when he goes out as a WR that he is not mismatched for an easy score. Minimize means tackling. The Redskins must keep the YAC (yards after catch) and broken tackles to a minimal. If the Saints score, they need to earn it. Don't give them opportunities to quick score and the Redskins may be able to outscore the Saints.

Special Teams: The good news? Ted Ginn is out. The bad news? The Saints tend to find any guy off the street to turn a punt or a kick return into a big play. The key is for Hopkins to kick every ball out of the back of the end zone and for Way to make every punt difficult for the Saints to return. Also every XP and FG will be critical in this game.

Concerns: The Redskins are notoriously dreadful on MNF with a few exceptions. Can they break that trend tonight?

Final Notes: The Redskins have played the Saints in the Superdome 4 times since 2001. The Redskins are 3-1 in New Orleans during that stretch of 17 years. The Redskins have played Drew Brees in the Superdome 3 times from 2006-2017. In that, the Redskins are 2-1. All three of those games had very close outcomes with the biggest differential being 8 points (2012).

Prediction: The Redskins play well in New Orleans and with the exception to the meltdown in 2017, they usually win there. I think this will be a tough game for the Redskins. They won't get help with opposing players dropping passes and will have to be pumped and play their best early on to the final gun if they are to win. I expect this to happen for two reasons. The first is that the players who were on the team remember the 2017 game and it left a real bad taste in their mouths. They want redemption. Second is Adrian Peterson wanting to send a message. While he noted that he had no ill will towards the Saints, they are the team that traded him and I know a guy like AP doesn't forget stuff like that. He'll want to beat the Saints and do so with an excellent game against them. I also will be curious to see how the defense fares against another HOF caliber QB in Brees. They held Luck to 21 and held Rodgers to 17. Can they do similar to Drew Brees? This will be considered an upset, but I have the Redskins winning tonight.

Final Score: Redskins 31 Saints 24
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