Redskins (3-8) at Colts (7-4)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and X factors for the Washington Redskins as they take on the Indianapolis Colts and then I’ll give my prediction.
Here are two factors that work against a Redskins win:
—Andrew Luck is on pace to pass for over 5,200 yards, he completes 63 percent of his passes, hits for 7.8 yards per pass attempt, and he has a 99.4 passer rating. Those are just the highlights. He’s not quite up there with the elites like Brady and Manning but it’s only a matter of time. The Redskins are 24th in yards per pass attempt against them so this looks like a tough matchup for them.
—The other side of that coin is Luck’s stable of receivers. Speedy T. Y. Hilton has already gained over 1,000 yards on the season and he averages 17.2 yards per catch. Reggie Wayne is a wily veteran with 50 receptions. They like to get tight end Coby Fleener down the field; he averages 15.1 yards on his 31 catches. The Redskins also will need to keep an eye on former Giants receiver Akeem Nicks. He isn’t have a great season (24 rec/243 yds) but he has averaged 15.3 yards on 30 receptions against the Redskins in his career.
Here are two factors in favor of a Redskins win:
—Running back Alfred Morris could have a big day. Indy allows 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, 29th in the league. Morris is getting on a roll, with 92, 96, and 125 yards rushing in his last three games (104 yds/game avg.). He could take a lot of heat off of quarterback Colt McCoy, who will be playing in a game for the first time in over a month.
—The Colts are 17th in the league in rushing yards with 1,218. However they played their first 10 games of the season with Ahmad Bradshaw picking up 425 yards and averaging 4.7 yards per attempt. But Bradshaw is out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. That leaves the bulk of the rushing work to Trent Richardson, who sports an average o 3.4 yards per carry. That’s 44th among the 50 NFL running backs with enough carries to qualify for the league lead. The Redskins have a good chance at shutting down the Colts’ rushing game, making them one-dimensional. That would be an advantage for Washington even though Luck and his receivers make that one dimension pretty scary to face.
And two X factors:
—As noted, McCoy is coming off of the bench after a month. The last time we saw him he was engineering an overtime drive in Dallas to get the Redskins in position for what proved to be the game-winning field goal. Will he continue to be the 86 percent passer with an average of 10.2 yards per attempt we saw in his six quarters of action against the Titans and Cowboys? Probably not but as long he doesn’t revert all the way back to the quarterback we saw in Cleveland, the guy who completed 58 percent of his passes and threw almost as many interceptions (20) as touchdown passes (21), he could give the Redskins a shot at winning.
—Only six NFL teams have give up more sacks than the Redskins, who have 33 against them. Almost half of those, 16 have come in the past three games with Robert Griffin III at quarterback. The debate around town has been how much of the blame for the sacks falls on the offensive line and how much goes to Griffin. The Colts pass rush 13th in sacks with 28 so pass protection will be tested this week. McCoy was sacked twice in the half he played against the Titans and three times in Dallas so we will see how much better he deals with the suspect offensive line in front of him.
So what will happen?
The Redskins do have a chance here. I don’t think it’s a great chance; it’s about the same as it was going into Dallas, where they won, and into San Francisco, where they lost.
The Colts are fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 30.3 points per game. If the Redskins are going to be successful, they will need to keep Luck and company off of the field by controlling the ball on the ground and with short passes and with Morris pounding the ball and coming away with points when they have the opportunity.
As long as we have Captain Obvious giving hot takes here, it should be noted that a decided advantage in the turnover department would boost Washington’s chances as well.
Even though the possibility is there, I don’t see this team being ready to take that step and win a game like this. The Redskins will battle and hang in but the McCoy-led offense won’t have quite enough firepower to get it done.
Colts 24, Redskins 20
(predictions record this year 6-5)