The Washington Redskins (0-4) travel to Foxborough on Sunday lunchtime to take on the high-flying New England Patriots (4-0). It is hard to get too excited about this match-up, considering the Redskins obvious dysfunction on both sides of the ball this season.
From a Patriot point of view, there is plenty to improve on given last weekend’s tight game in Orchard Park, which took them right to the wire deep into the fourth quarter. The offense needs to find a much better groove and play calling has to have more of a focus looking at Josh McDaniels.
The lack of dominance on the offensive line lead from the outset is what they must establish to avoid a home upset against the lowly Redskins. The stats point toward New England setting up the ground game with Sony Michel and James White, which will open up the quick passing game to Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, which should get Brady in a much better rhythm than last week. While Josh Gordon has been out there for almost every snap this season, it would be pleasant for a Patriot fan to return to his electric form before his decision to temporarily step away from the game early last season.
While the offense has something to prove, the defense has been a revelation for the Patriots. No one, I mean no one, thought they were going to be playing at an all-time level. While it does not pose any great superstars, the incredible depth is highlighted each week as we are witness to young players stepping up to Bill Belichick’s lofty standards.
Led by the very consistent Kyle Van Noy in the middle of the defense and Devin McCourty, they will look to suffocate Case Keenum or maybe it’ll be Dwayne Haskins? Who knows who will rock up this Sunday, given their form?
Look toward a bigger role for Chase Winovich given his semi-breakout game last week. The former Michigan Wolverine was a steal in the 4th round in April’s draft and looks to be another example of Belichick’s simple strategy of seeing value for what it is that fits the Patriot Way.
Shifting toward the Redskins, what a shambles, eh? Getting booed off against Chicago a few weeks ago at home has prompted the increased pressure on Head Coach Jay Gruden and who he plays at quarterback. Back in what feels like the last decade now, Case Keenum had a fluke season with the Vikings; any fan could have told you not to invest money in him. However, the NFL never lets us down with stupid decisions (cough cough… Antonio Brown) but let’s not dwell on that for the time being!
They really do lack a spark on offense. Can Colt McCoy inject something into the life of the Redskins? I have my doubts. The injury to Derius Guice upset fans around the league, as we just want to see the former LSU product play. It has placed further pressure on the superhuman Adrian Peterson and a receiver core that is luke warm at best. Chris Thompson will fail to beat Jason McCourty. let alone Stephon Gilmore. which will make it a long day for the ‘Skins offense.
The defense has good pieces but cannot seem to play as a unit yet this season. NFL fans know how talented Josh Norman is so having an all-star corner is not the issue. The play of Jonothan Allen on the front end was a terrific pick back in which draft? An anchor of the defense for many years to come when picked, he is becoming being a captain on this Washington team. However, being in the bottom third for points, yards and rush yards is not going to stand you in good stead against Tom Brady and co. Despite the presence of Landon Collins in the back end, this only reads as one-way traffic for the high flying Patriots.
My verdict: Ultimately, the Patriots will be far too strong for the Redskins. The suffocating defense will allow nothing, meaning it will be difficult for the Washington offense to get going if at all. It is only a matter of time before the Patriots offense begins to click, so I’m expecting another succinct and professional performance at home for the boys in Patriot blue.
Prediction: Redskins 14, Patriots 35
Feature Picture: Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images