Jaguars at Redskins
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and X factors for the Redskins as they take on the Jaguars on Sunday.
Here are three factors that work against a Redskins win:
—To sum up what killed the Redskins’ chances of winning against the Texans in two words, sloppy play will work as well as anything. Two fumbles, the blocked punt, the blocked extra point, poor coverage and bad tackling on a long Houston touchdown pass all contributed heavily to the loss. They can work to clean those things up but there is no guarantee that they can do it in just one week. And even if they do fix those issues there is a chance that other issues will pop up. It’s hard to be sloppy one week and clean and crisp the next.
—With Barry Cofield out until at least mid-November and Kedric Golston likely out this game, the Redskins are precariously thin along the defensive line. One player who is likely to benefit from this is Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart. It appears that he is over the ankle injury that caused him to leave Jacksonville’s game against the Eagles last week. Jim Haslett should remember him well. In the 2011 game at FedEx field where Adrian Peterson went out with a torn ACL, Gerhart filled in and ripped through the Redskins for 109 yards on 11 carries as the Vikings won.
—The Jags don’t have a dominant defense but they sure gave the Eagles a hard time last week. Philly had all kinds of pass protection issues, giving up five sacks and three quarterback hits. Jacksonville also picked off Nick Foles, who threw only two interceptions all of last year. To be sure, they did blow a 17-0 halftime lead so they still have plenty of holes but after watching the Redskins last week and seeing them give up 14 quarterback hits (10 to guys not names J. J. Watt) there has to be cause for concern.
Here are three factors in favor of a Redskins win:
—Alfred Morris got his season off to a great start in Houston, picking up 91 yards on 14 carries, a healthy 6.5 yards a pop. If he keeps that going he can not only move the chains on his own but he also can set up play action passes by Robert Griffin III. If they use him, which they didn’t do enough against the Texans, he can be the straw that stirs the drink on offense.
—Griffin played a decent game overall and he was particularly sharp in the second half. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 193 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns in the last 30 minutes of play. That’s an average of 9.6 yards per attempt and a stellar passer rating of 118.8. If he comes close to those numbers and eliminates mistakes like the one he made handing off when he was falling to the ground, the Redskins are likely to have a decided advantage at quarterback.
—The Washington defense played well, allowing only 10 points to the Texans. The tackling was impressive with only nine misses and most of those causing minimal damage since there were a lot of players around the ball. They need to get more sacks and takeaways but it was a solid start for a maligned unit.
And three X factors:
—Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne had five multi-interception games last year and he had six games where he didn’t throw a pick. If the Redskins get the bad Chad on Sunday they have a good shot at winning easily. If Henne protects the ball the Jags could be in it until the end.
—The Redskins have three players who are out of Sunday’s game and one who is doubtful. Jacksonville lists four players out and one doubtful. That is a lot of banged up players for this early in the season and it remains to be seen how much of an effect the missing players will have on the contest.
—The Redskins’ safety position remains in turmoil after Bacarri Rambo whiffed on a open field tackle that turned a long gain on a pass into the go-ahead touchdown. It was noted above that the Redskins missed only nine tackles but five of those misses were committed by Ryan Clark. They are very thin behind those three with Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis having no NFL experience and Duke Ihenacho barely familiar with his teammates with just six practices with Washington under his belt. If the Jags can figure out a way to exploit the weakness they could come up with a game-changing play.
So what will happen?
This could be an easy one for the Redskins but nothing comes easy for this team. As Ryan Clark reminded everyone earlier this week, the Jaguars’ draft slot was behind that of the Redskins last year. Washington is not good enough to take any team lightly and they unlikely to overlook the Jaguars.
It says here that Griffin gets in a rhythm thanks to Alfred Morris’ effective running and finds DeSean Jackson deep once, maybe twice. But they can’t shake the catastrophic mistakes and the Jags hang around the whole game. It’s tight in the end until a late clinching score by the offense or maybe a return TD by the defense.
Redskins 24, Jaguars 14
(record this year 0-1)