The Redskins take on the New York Jets Sunday. Only one win separates these two teams through 11 weeks of the season. Neither side has their eyes set on the playoff, and both are looking towards the future.
I expect the game to be reasonably close with the Jets coming off a nice win against the Giants and the Redskins having two weeks to prepare for them.
How can they win?
Score points. It is that simple. They have failed to score a TD in their last three games. Haskins did not throw a TD last game, but also did not turn the ball over. While that is a good first step, you must put the ball in the endzone in order to win games. Unlike the Bills, the Jets do not have a top tier defense, so they should have an easier time doing just that.
On the defensive side, Manusky must mix up the coverages to confuse Darnold. His worst game came against the Patriots. During the game, Darnold said he was “seeing ghosts.” Bill Belichick was disguising coverages nearly every play. This works on most young QBs, and the Redskins will need to do that if they want to stop the passing game.
Player to watch on the Redskins
Dwayne Haskins: This will be the biggest test for Haskins. He has had two weeks to prepare and already has one start under his belt. There are no excuses for playing poorly. The defensive back’s on the Jets are not very good, so the WRs should have a much easier time getting separation.
Callahan giving Haskins the reins for the rest of the season should give him more confidence. It is difficult for QBs to play when they know they are on a short leash. This will force them to play conservative and not be able to stretch the field. I expect Haskins to throw more deep passes and take some risks since the thought of getting benched is no longer there.
Terry McLaurin: I was surprised that Haskins seemed to be more comfortable throwing to Richardson than McLaurin against the Bills. I figured the two college teammates would have had much more of a connection. However, this could have been from Tre’davious White not giving McLaurin much room to work. Hopefully, we will see more of a connection on Sunday.
The Defensive Front: This involves everyone. They not only need to contain Bell but getting pressure on Darnold will be key to making him uncomfortable and possibly forcing him to make unwise decisions when throwing.
Players to watch on the Jets
Le’veon Bell: Bell is one of the few weapons the Jets have offensively. His patience and vision are what makes him so difficult to stop. The defense will have to play whistle to whistle if they want to stop him. If anyone gets lazy during a play, Bell will cut that way and break off a big gain. They will have to stop him in the passing game as well.
Jamison Crowder: This will be a revenge game for Crowder after not being resigned. Outside of wanting payback, Crowder has been Darnold’s favorite target so far. Crowder is averaging 8.5 targets per game when Darnold is under center. Since Crowder plays mainly in the slot, Jimmy Moreland and Fabian Moreau will have to have a big game.
Jamal Adams: Adams can be argued as the best safety in the game. Haskins will have to know where he is at all times. Pro Football Focus has given Adams an outstanding grade of 89.8 so far this season. The best option is just to avoid Adams at all costs.
Prediction: Redskins win 20-17
Looking ahead at the schedule, this may be the last game of the season that the Redskins have a real shot at winning. The Jets are coming off a victory against the Giants, so this game should, at the very least, be close.
The most important aspect of this game is the performance of Dwayne Haskins. This will be the motto of every game, but this one may be the most significant. When playing the Bills, he was able to throw the excuses of that being his first start and the fact that the Bills had a great defense. He has had two weeks to prepare for this game, and the Jets are a below-average defense, so there are no excuses for a poor performance.