The defending champion Patriots are favored by 14 points over the Redskins on Sunday.
Tom Brady and Co. are 7-0 this season and have lost only twice in their last 22 games. And, oh yeah, the defense ranks among the top-10 in points allowed.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden is well aware of all that—and he’s hoping his players are taking the predictions of a lopsided loss personally.
“On paper, it looks like [a mismatch], but that’s motivation for us, obviously,” Gruden said after Monday’s practice. “Really, anytime you have a chance to play a football game on Sunday in Foxborough, you’ve got to be ready to play, mentally and physically obviously. Their record with Tom Brady starting at Foxborough is 76-15 or something outrageous like that.”
Brady’s record at home is actually a little better than that. In fact, it’s 94-15, according to ProFooballReference.com. Either way, Brady, Bill Belichick and the Pats present the Redskins’ biggest challenge to date. And it’s not really close.
“We know what’s at stake,” Gruden said.
A lot is at stake, indeed. Although the Redskins had their bye on Sunday, they still managed to make up ground in the NFC East when the Giants lost to the Saints. Heading into Foxborough, they’re just a half-game out of first place in the decidedly mediocre division.
The Patriots, on the other hand, also will be coming off an extended break. They crushed the Dolphins, 36-7, on Thursday Night Football last week. In that game, Brady tossed four touchdowns and now sits tied with Arizona’s Carson Palmer for the league lead (20). Brady has also thrown just one interception, the fewest among full-time starters, as the Patriots' offense has soared to the top of the NFL in points per game (35.6).
“We know how good they are, how well-coached they are, how well-prepared they are,” Gruden said. “We just have to be as prepared as they are and play harder and make some things happen [and] protect the football.”
“They put on their pants just like we do,” he added. “We’re going to go out there and compete our butts off and play.”
After Monday’s brief workout, the Redskins’ players will take Tuesday off before returning Wednesday to begin installing the game plan for New England.
“It has got to be our best week of preparation, no question,” Gruden said. “Hands down it has got to be our best week of preparation, physically and mentally.”
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