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Redskins vs Bills Game Preview - Identifying the Mismatches


Here's our weekly Q&A with SB Nation's Buffalo Rumblings, easily one of the top football websites in the SB Nation family. Brian Galliford also contributes to the SB Nation main NFL site mock drafts and power rankings. Fire away:

1.) Bills have a NFL worst 4 sacks yet are 2nd best in INTs with 12. What should be the game plan for the Redskins who have a banged up OLine, two solid rushers, terrible WRs, and a decent, mobile QB?

Buffalo Rumblings: The formula is pretty simple: establish the run, set up the play-action game, get John Beck out of the pocket making simple reads, and make sure to keep the Bills out of passing lanes as much as possible. Many of Buffalo's big plays defensively have been tipped passes generated by quarterback pressure, so though the sack numbers aren't high - and though the pass rush is definitely the weak point of the Bills' defense - they've still been able to make some things happen.

2.) The Bills have actually lost their last two road games, are you nervous about this game?

Yes, they've lost their last two road games - by a field goal each to two playoff contenders. It's concerning that they're struggling to close games out on the road, but it's not as if they're playing poorly away from home, either. I am not any more nervous about this game than I would be if the team were undefeated on the road - all that matters is that the Redskins are a good team.

3.) The Redskins are outmatched on defense but are great at getting to the QB...what has worked well in slowing down Fred Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Holy sh!t?!... Fred Jackson is averaging 5.7 yards a carry?

Yeah, Fred Jackson is having an MVP-type season if the world existed without Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The best way to slow down Fitzpatrick is to harass him with pressure, which the Redskins should be able to do on Sunday. I honestly have no suggestions regarding Jackson, other than to limit his big plays - he's got 14 runs of 10 or more yards through six games this season. He's also capable of making big plays as a receiver; he's got nine receptions of 10 or more yards, and is averaging 11.6 yards per reception as Buffalo's third-leading receiver.

4.) Looking at NFL play direction stats, 170 passes have been to the left side of the field and only 31 to the right. That seems quite one dimensional there. If it ain't broken don't fix it?

That's not anything I've ever heard before, quite frankly, and strikes me as a statistical oddity that will correct itself over time. Fitzpatrick reads the whole field and the Bills move receivers all over the field, so I wouldn't focus too much on one side of the formation if I were Washington.

5.) What's your prediction and biggest mismatch on either side of the ball?

The biggest mismatch of the game is Washington's pass rush against Buffalo's offensive line, which will feature left guard Andy Levitre at left tackle this week thanks to injuries to their top two left tackles. Levitre is an excellent football player, but he's not an NFL left tackle. Brian Orakpo is going to give him fits. That said, Chan Gailey and Fitzpatrick are outstanding at setting up protection schemes, Jackson is one of the NFL's best blocking backs, and I think they'll negate Orakpo and the Redskins enough on that front to make enough plays to win. Bills 20, Redskins 17.

As I told Brian, I think the Bills win in a blowout. Poor tackling is not something that fixes itself. If Chan Gailey likes mismatches, then how about their back up wide receiver David Nelson, who's 6'5 220 lbs. Who on our D can stop him in the red zone? He led WRs last week vs the Giants with 4 receptions and 62 yards.