This evening on Sunday Night Football, Redskins undoubtedly will face their toughest opponent to date of their 2017 season. The Raiders offense boast arguably the most balanced attack in the league, with a plethora of weapons including their ultimate weapon just entering his prime in Derek Carr.
Oakland’s defense comes to D.C. with a two-time, first team all-pro defensive lineman/outside linebacker in Khalil Mack. Reggie Nelson, although the elder statesman of the defense, is a great ball-hawk and creates problems for opposing team’s quarterbacks. It’s a defense that wasn’t nearly as horrible as they were yardage-wise a year ago, not one of the best, but not among the worst anymore. With that being said, the Redskins have a good chance to win the game.
Regardless of how the offense has performed to this point of the season, it’s still capable of putting up top ten numbers weekly, frankly, it’s just a matter of time until they get going. Last week, head coach Jay Gruden showed that he can stick to the ground game even when momentum has seemingly shifted in the opposing teams favor. The Redskins will again have an opportunity to display their “stick-to-itiveness” against Oakland because the opportunity to run the ball will be there. With Robert Kelley hampered by injury, Mack Brown could finally get his opportunity to see the field. Brown along with Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson allows a different type of versatility for the Redskins backfield than with Kelley.
It will not come down to just running the ball effectively, the big play opportunity will be there in the passing game as well. Last week against the Rams plays was to be made against their secondary down the field, and Washington missed out, I expect the play-calling along with Kirk Cousins to be more aggressive when facing the Raiders secondary. Former Redskin David Amerson has made a home, and living, in Oakland as their number one corner. Although more consistent than he was his last two seasons in Washington, he’s still susceptible to the big play and can be attacked. Like Rob Kelley, Jordan Reed is probably out against Oakland, which means, Vernon Davis and Niles Paul will see more action this week. In terms of who will be the featured guy in the passing game with Reed out, Jamison Crowder should be that guy. This offense thrives passing “inside-out,” Crowder can have a big game tonight.
The Redskins defense will face weapons across the board, it will be hard to focus on Lynch when receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper can beat you. It will also be an issue to double team one of their best receivers because Jared Cook can beat you. The game plan will take a collective effort in coverage, Zach Brown has had his issues in coverage the first two games, I do not expect teams to stop scheming to pick on him. The game plan should heavily focus on taking away the run game though as it’s always beneficial to a defense when an offense becomes one-dimensional. The positives for the Redskins secondary is that both Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller are playing exceptionally well to this point. Breeland is in a position where he’s facing another premier receiver in his first prime-time game of the season. Last season he went up against Antonio Brown, and we know how that story goes. This season, Amari Cooper, he’ll have a chance to redeem himself in front of the nation and prove he’s still one of the best young cornerbacks in the game.
It’s gameday! How are you feeling about tonight’s match-up and how are you spending your time waiting for Sunday Night Football to start? Let us know in the comments below.