What I like about this game:
The Redskins have been horrible against the big play, giving up 21 passes over twenty yards. Only Green Bay has given up more (28). That being said, one area where the Titans have struggled is the deep pass. They have only completed two passes of 30 yards or more and both those plays came against the Miami Dolphins in a losing effort (and it wasn't Vince Young throwing the ball). In a limited effort thus far, Vince Young has not completed a pass over 30 yards and is averaging below 5 yards an attempt.
The Redskins have had to play without Shawn Springs, but the Titans have suffered their own injury problems. Defensive Tackle Rien Long is out for the season with a busted Achilles. Wide Receiver David Givens won't be playing this game, nor is Drew Bennett a lock to start as he's suffering from an ankle injury. Defensive End Travis LaBoy missed practice yesterday with an elbow injury and is questionable for Sunday's game. Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth is out pending a 5 game suspension handed out by the NFL. I hear he's considered looking for work elsewhere (warning: tired joke alert).
To sum up what those mean, the right side of the Titans defensive line is missing Haynesworth and likely missing (or playing with an injured) Travis LaBoy. And although the talented Keith Bullock shores up the right side at linebacker, that side is still a few players short of being capable of stopping the three headed beast that is (or could be) Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, and TJ Duckett. Oh by the way, despite only having started 3 games, Clinton Portis is tied for the lead in rushing TDs.
Furthermore, a Titans team that has been woefully unsuccessful at making big plays is now using a rookie QB who has yet to make a big passing play down the field, and will be asked to do so this sunday without at least one of his starting receivers, possibly two. And Tight End Erron Kinney has not yet played a single game and could end up on Injury Reserve.
I think this is an underachieving Titans team that is ripe for the picking, though at 2-3 the Redskins can ill-afford to look past anyone. Vince Young is still very much the running threat that he was at the University of Texas, as he proved with a 19 yard touchdown scamper against the Colts (who he almost bested in a 14-13 loss). We could easily win this game on the offensive line if we establish the run early and keep it up throughout the game. Their battered defensive line lacks the talent and the depth to remain rested and effective for four quarters. Some good 6-8 yard pickups on 1st and 2nd down should help maintain drives to keep our porous passing defense off the field.
As with the Houston Texans game, a decisive victory over the Titans won't tell us much about Your Washington Redskins. On the other hand, a loss -- at home against an 0-5 team -- would be extremely telling about this team and their post season chances.
I don't consider this a must-win game so much as I consider it a must-not-lose, if that makes any sense.