- My favorite days for writing this column over the years have easily been on Mondays when the Redskins were on the cusp of playing under the lights on national television. Even despite the terrible record of unbelievably horrid performances in primetime, I still wake up the morning of the game excited and happy to see my boys be the only show in town. I can make up any number of reasons that the Redskins can and should win these games, but—and really wait for it this time—today feels a bit different...like we REALLY might be able to “should win.” That attitude and tone will be on the scene here at Hogs Haven TONIGHT, as I will be live during the game with my 1st Amendment Sports team (Kevin, Tim and Darren). I will have it posted on the open game thread and will be looking for your in-game comments over the show page as opposed to on the site here. The Audible goes live on our 1st Amendment Sports YouTube channel shortly after kickoff.
- I love when we get into our “should win” mode. The Redskins have had some huge “should win” games over the last few seasons. None was bigger than the game against the New York Giants in December two seasons ago when the Redskins needed a win to get into the playoffs. Eli Manning handed the ball off something like 356 straight times (someone check that) as the Giants were looking to end the season as quickly as possible. Then all of a sudden, he threw it to a receiver down the field that nobody had ever heard of and it stole the “should” right out from underneath us. But don’t get me started down that road...that extremely well-paved, well-lit, well-traveled road. Tonight is a whole ‘nother story!!
- The Chicago Bears have a defense that can beat you pretty much by themselves. Let it not be said we live in such denial that we can’t see that. Their starting 11 on the defensive side are simply among the best defensive units we have watched in recent years. Honestly, they really are. Khalil Mack is so good, you watch him and you assume he will come out early from the NFL and be the first overall draft pick for whatever the next level is...how does he look so big next to NFL players (and for God’s sake, how unfair was it when he was at Buffalo??!?!). What helps the calculus for tonight is that the Bears offense is pretty atrocious. Through two weeks (it’s not the size of the sample James...it’s what kind of argument you can make with it), the Bears are third-worst in yards per game. Amateur golfers can hit longer drives than the Bears offense can move in four quarters. The Redskins defense has not exactly been running a clinic so far this season. The last I checked, we still haven’t stopped the Dallas Cowboys since the second quarter of last week’s game. So, as the old saying goes, “something has to give.”
- As much as I want to tout the fine work that Case Keenum has done so far this season, if we are putting checkmarks on the board, we have to put it next to Chicago’s defense and not Washington’s offense, despite the above average nature of the Redskins passing game (above average!! woo-hoo!!). Assuming we can prevent the Bears defense from scoring points, the game “should” come down to our defense against their offense—with our defense having to do just a little more than win that battle. After all, their defense “should” give their offense great field position and keep the Redskins from developing much momentum. So who is going to stand up and make the plays that will win this game on defense for the Redskins?
- If there was ever a night for a first-round rookie defensive player to have his name called out for making decisive plays, it’s tonight. Montez Sweat needs to be the guy, in my opinion. He has been getting schooled by NFC East Pro Bowlers to start the season (respectfully), but the bright lights of Monday Night Football can make or break you. Wasn’t that when another Redskins rookie made his mark by chasing down Tony Dorsett from out of nowhere? Didn’t the world learn Darrell Green’s name under these same lights? It says here that the Redskins rookie pass rusher will announce himself in a similar fashion tonight.
- The experience of watching the NFL on Sunday when the Redskins aren’t playing is weird, but fun. In a former lifetime, there was no football that didn’t involve the Redskins. We no longer live in that world. I had a completely different post to write today that focused on that idea, and the reasons why that is true—both good and bad reasons. With a game on the immediate horizon today, it just wasn’t the right moment for that discussion, but I do expect that conversation to bleed into our live show tonight, and I would love to hear from folks about how they consume the NFL these days. Are you still in it only for the Redskins? Do you actually watch the Red Zone channel or are you glued to individual games when the Redskins aren’t playing? Is your NFL enjoyment limited to fantasy football interests? Is legalized sports betting drawing you into football in a way that is different from how you have traditionally consumed the NFL? When I stop to consider how my football fandom has changed over the years—and if I allow that it can’t just all be Dan Snyder’s fault—it really is pretty interesting how the NFL has adapted its product. That said, we have some football to get ready for...thanks in advance for logging in tonight and helping us try something new!
It’s gameday...always good to get a sixpack in before kickoff.