Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams

Unpublished

Washington Redskins
St. Louis Rams

The Redskins can’t afford to stumble against winless St. Louis after missing a chance last week to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They spent the first part of the week reeling after blowing a 17-point lead in an overtime loss to Houston at home. The Rams’ rebuilding effort continues to sputter because of a struggling offense. They could progress, however, against a Redskins defense that ranks last in the NFL and is still adjusting to its new 3-4  scheme.

Keys for the Rams
•The Rams’ must do a better job on first and second down in order to put rookie quarterback Sam Bradford in more manageable third down situations. St. Louis enters the game ranked 21st in the NFL in third down percentage. It won’t be easy because the Redskins’ top priority is to limit running back Steven Jackson and force Bradford to beat them.
• The Redskins’ running game is struggling, meaning that St. Louis could contain it with a seven-man front and use an extra safety to slow down quarterback Donovan McNabb. Not only that, but St. Louis could double receiver Santana Moss and make one of the Redskins’ unheralded receivers beat them. The Rams’ defense is up to the task. It did not allow more than 17 points in either of the first two losses.

Keys for the Redskins
• Washington must generate some production from the running game because its offense has been one-dimensional. McNabb has
passed for almost 300 yards per game largely because play-action is keeping opposing defenses off balance. The Rams can take that away, though, if Washington doesn’t truly threaten them on the ground. The breakdowns in blocking technique must be cleaned up for the Redskins’ linemen to consistently win individual battles.
• The Redskins broke down in coverage against Houston last week,
allowing 287 passing yards after the four-minute mark in the third quarter. Granted, the Rams’ offense isn’t nearly as potent, but the secondary must limit Bradford’s big plays. Washington will focus on containing Jackson out of the bakfield, so if the Redskins lose, Bradford will be the reason.

Bottom Line
The Redskins’ defense is ranked last in the NFL, but Washington’s first two opponents boasted top-5 offenses last season. Against the Rams, Washington’s defense will shine if it contains Jackson. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has called so many different blitzes through two games that he’ll make Bradford’s head spin.
Redskins 20–14.

 

Week 3
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