The 4-0 Patriots will visit FedEx Field to take on the 0-4 Redskins. This will undoubtedly be the Redskins’ most difficult opponent they will face all year. In some cases, good teams can overlook bad teams, but not the Patriots.
This is why New England has been successful for so long. They treat every game as if it is a must-win. With the Redskins not even knowing what QB will start Sunday, this team will have a difficult time scoring against the Patriots defense.
How can they win?
The Redskins would shock the sports world if they can somehow come away with a victory this week. Pro Football Focus has given the Patriots defense an astounding 89.8 grade this season. The closest team to that is the Bears with an 81.6 grade.
The only way to beat Brady is to do it with your own offense. Brady will shred nearly any defense you throw at him. You need to keep him off the field to beat him. To do that, your offense must dominate the time of possession.
Sadly, this will be difficult for the Redskins to do. Opponents on average have the ball eight more minutes a game than the Skins. The best way to dominate time of possession is to have a strong ground game. This is non-existent for them. As a team, they have 199 total rushing yds through four games (49.8 yds/game). This ranks 31st in the league, and even the Dolphins are averaging more.
If the Redskins want to pull off a miracle Sunday, they need the running game to show up for the first time this season. The Patriots will not make this easy with them only giving up 61 rushing yds/game.
Players to Watch for Washington
Terry McLaurin: McLaurin is one of the only bright spots for this team. He has turned a lot of heads in only three games. After missing last week’s game, hopefully, he will be healthy enough to play. Gilmore will most likely shadow him. He has yet to give up a TD all season, and QBs only have a 59.8 rating when targeting him. McLaurin could establish himself as the best rookie WR if he can produce going against one of the best CBs in the league.
Adrian Peterson: As mentioned earlier, Peterson must have a big game if he wants to give the Redskins any chance at winning this game. In three games he has a dreadful 2.7 yds/carry. Hopefully, he can revitalize this running game so they can keep #12 off the field.
Whichever QB plays: Jay Gruden seems to want to wait until Sunday to announce the starting QB. Not sure if this is a strategical move so the Patriots will have to prepare for all three or if he honestly has no idea himself. McCoy seems to be the front runner at the moment. If he starts and looks decent, I would expect him to be the starter for a while. If Haskins starts, I expect him to struggle just from how good the Patriots defense is. I think Haskins will be the starter for the rest of the season if they play him Sunday.
Players to Stop on New England
Josh Gordon: Gordon is on this list solely because of the player who will be covering him. Josh Norman has struggled immensely this season, especially with players that are faster and stronger than him. Gordon is both. The Redskins will need to give Norman help all game if they want to stop him.
Julian Edelman: Yet another WR the Redskins will need to stop. The secondary has been exposed all season. Edelman is one of the best slot receivers in the game. He is excellent at finding open gaps in the field. Jimmy Moreland has played at nickel this season and has not impressed. While he was a terror in the pre-season, he has been nothing of that in the regular season. QBs have a 131.5 rating when targeting him. Moreland will have to step up to slow down Edelman and the Patriots passing game.
Devin McCourty: McCourty is arguably having his best season. He has managed to have an interception in every game this season. With a struggling QB group in Washington, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him extend his streak to five games with an INT. My best advice would be to avoid throwing into an area McCourty is covering.
Prediction: Patriots win 31-3
The reigning Super Bowl champions are the exact opposite of the Redskins. They are always well prepared, disciplined, and consistent. The Redskins are none of those. With a head coach that seems to want out and unmotivated players, I don’t see the Skins having a chance barring a miracle.