It was pointed out last week that I should make the disclaimer about this article very clear on the front side. These predictions assume a Redskins victory. They are meant to provide at least some relief from the serious issues we have with our team. That said, I can honestly tell you that, "Yes, I do think we will win this Sunday." And here's how:
1) Ladell Betts will run for 150+ yards and 2 touchdowns. Inside the red zone, the bulk of our plays are going to be running plays. Rock Cartwright is going to get his share of carries this week (5-10 I am guessing) and we will lean on the new guy, Levi Jones, for better or worse. One thing that has seemed to work for this team in the past is having Ladell Betts take over as the starter down the stretch. I worry about our right guard situation, and find it laughable that we are calling it a "Battle" to see whether Chad Rinehart or Will Montgomery will start. But I think Mike Sellers and Todd Yoder will log some healthy blocking downs and enable Betts to move the chains.
2) Brian Orakpo, in addition to yet another sack, will also log an interception. I am tempted to say he runs it back for a score, but I think he outruns his blockers early in the run-back and gets tackled. I am extremely excited to see what he looks like with the ball in his hands. He is the kind of player you wish you could play at running back in Madden. Big, strong, fast...no way the first tackler brings him down.
3) Jason Campbell will have zero turnovers. This is going to be huge for us this weekend. The game is going to be a close one throughout, so ball protection is key. I don't see JC testing Champ Bailey regularly, which does not bode well for Santana Moss' stats, but I am hopeful that Fred Davis can be responsible for moving the chains in the passing game. He killed us last week with the botched tip that turned into a Falcons defensive touchdown (I know, it wasn't a great throw, but you don't initiate a tip drill like that.)
4) We will score on a trick play. Since I have the ability to see the future, I can tell you that it will be a double reverse handoff to Devin Thomas who will race into the end zone for a touchdown. The key to the play will be two amazing blocks. The first will be Jason Campbell giving up his body to give Thomas the edge. The second block will be Malcolm Kelly down field.
5) Shaun Suisham kicks the game-winning field goal. What a difference a year makes I guess. From the worst kicker (statistically) last season, to the one guy on offense we have been able to count on. He is one of only 5 kickers to have not missed yet this season, and among those kickers, he has the second most attempts--including a 48-yarder. I am putting the game on him this week.
I hate predicting the final score, but I'll go ahead and call it 24-23. No passing touchdowns by JC, but otherwise a solid day for the beleagured quarterback.
Here is what I am really hoping for: The Broncos travel cross-country on a short week this week and have next week's opponent--the San Diego Chargers--squarely in their sights. The lack of respect they probably have for our team will lead to a sloppy performance and leave just a big enough opening for our offense to score their season-high point total. Also, Kevin and I have both talked this week about the prospect of using the no-huddle to prevent the Broncos from shuffling their defensive personnel in the manner they prefer. If Sherm Lewis and Jim Zorn trust JC with the keys to the no-huddle, it might prove to be a huge factor.
Your bold predictions and cracks at me are now welcome.