Sunday, October 14, 2007

Redskins vs. The Pack


What They Want to Do and How to Stop Them: Offensively the Redskins need to rely on their solid rushing attack ( 130.3 YPG), which will allow them to control the ball and let them throw when they want to. Jason Campbell had a great game last week against Detroit but the Lions' pass defense is terrible. This is not to say that Green Bay's pass defense has been great by any means (they are ranked 23rd in the league) but it is certainly better than the Lions. Campbell is still a developing quarterback and still needs to take what the defense gives him and if the Redskins can run the ball effectively and have success in the short yardage passing game they should be able to move the ball against the Packer defense. The short yardage game becomes even more important this week than usual, given that Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El may not play this week and that they will be limited if they do. The keys on defense for the Redskins will be getting ahead early, controlling the red zone, and forcing turnovers, particularly out of Brett Favre. For all the praise Favre had received this year for reigning in his gunslinger tendencies the man still turned 38 this week, has been a gunslinger for life, and has thrown 51 interceptions in his last 37 games. If the Skins can open up a double-digit lead early in the game, there's a good chance Favre will fall back into his gunslinger ways which could be advantageous for Washington with the talent in their secondary. Just as important will be holding tough in the Red Zone. The Redskins have good coverage guys in the secondary and fast linebackers; the Packers have a questionable running game and no great Red Zone threats at receiver. If Washington can hold Green Bay to field goals in the Red Zone their offense should be able to pull this one out.

Wildcard: Washington's receiving corps.
Santana Moss is probable with groin injury; Antwaan Randle El is questionable with a hamstring injury. My bet would be that both will play, but having anything less than both at full strength has negative ramifications throughout the Redskins offense.

Truths and Damned Lies: What the stats can (and can't) tell us.

Telling Statistic: Chris Cooley's three touchdown receptions out of four touchdown passes thrown by Jason Campbell. Cooley established himself as a Red Zone touchdown threat in his rookie year (2004). Given that Moss and Randle El are vertical passing game receivers (and that each is well under six feet tall), Cooley is the security blanket for Campbell inside the opponents


What They Want to Do and How to Stop Them:
The Packers have made it to 4-1 this season relying on Brett Favre and a solid, if unspectacular defense. The Packers are averaging only 67 YPG on the ground and their top rushing is averaging an astonishingly low 33.0 YPG. For the Packers offense to be effective at all Favre is going to have to be productive and for Favre to be productive the Packers offensive line is going to have to contain the Redskins on the pass rush. Favre is about as immobile as any quarterback in the NFL and is still be a bit slow to check down to his second and third options. The Redskins have good corners and shouldn't have to worry about the running game too much, so getting good pressure on Favre with the front four and a few strategically timed blitzes could make this a very long day for the Packers offense. The book on stopping the Redskins offense the last couple years has been to contain the running game and make them pass. This may be changing with Jason Campbell starting to look like a bona fide solid NFL starting quarterback with his game last week. But last weeks game showed that Campbell could perform when he wasn't under much pressure - the Redskins dominated the Lions pretty much from the outset and Campbell wasn't sacked the entire game. It may not be quite as foolproof a plan as it has been the last couple season, but the Packers still need to concentrate on stopping Portis and Betts first and the passing game second.

Wildcard: DeShawn Wynn.
On one hand Wynn has averaged 4.6 yard per carry and has three touchdowns in five games. On the other hand he hasn't carried the ball more than ten times in a game yet this season. If Wynn can match the production and carries of a number one back, the Redskins will have to divert attention away from the passing game to stop him. And don't tell me it couldn't happen just because Wynn was a 7th round pick - Terrell Davis was drafted in the 6th round and rushed for over 1,100 yards his rookie season.

Truths and Damned Lies: What the stats can (and can't) tell us.

Telling Statistic: Brett Favre's 65 turnovers (51 interceptions; 14 lost fumbles) in his last 37 games, dating back to the start of the 2005 season. Sure, Favre is Hall of Fame quarterback and hasn't turned the ball over as much lately but there's no way a guy can turn the ball over 1.76 times a game for two-plus years and not be considered a threat to give the other team great field position, if not points.

Misleading Statistic: Brett Favre's 94.7 QB rating this season. Favre has torn it up against the Giants (20th in pass defense; 23rd in points allowed), San Diego (27th and 19th) and Minnesota (30th and 5th, due to the best run defense in the league) and has been mediocre against the Philly (21st and 11th) and Chicago (26th and 21st). For comparison the Redskins are ranked 8th in passing yards allowed per game 3rd in points allowed (which is somewhat skewed because they've already had their bye week); allowing only thirteen points per game. Oh yeah, and they've only given up two passing touchdowns so far.

Prediction: 20-13, Redskins. Favre manages to sneak in a TD through the air, but the Lambeau faithful go home disappointed courtesy of a TD pass from Campbell to Sellers and a score on the ground from Portis.

- DMG, with the Tar Heel and The Phoenix

1 comment:

DMG said...

Aw, statman I thought you were gonna come through for me with a mislead stat for the Skins!

Anyway, game note: both Moss and Randle El are slated to start