Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 15, eight days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.
Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff, 12 noon, NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. 49ers, FOX, 1 p.m.
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 15
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 22
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 39
Final thoughts on Redskins vs. 49ers
—The 49ers have a quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly. Brian Hoyer only takes an average of 2.93 seconds from snap to pass (per Pro Football Focus). The way to combat that is to take the shortest path to the quarterback by getting pressure up the middle. Per PFF, only three 3-4 defensive ends have more quarterback hurries than the 10 that Matt Ioannidis has and Jonathan Allen has seven, including four against the Chiefs. If they can continue to get that pressure it could be a long day for Hoyer.
—When I took a first look at the Niners earlier this week I said that it looked like LB Ruben Foster, a reported first-round target of the Redskins last April, would not play due to an ankle injury. But Foster is listed as questionable and the 49ers suddenly released four-time All-Pro LB NaVorro Bowman on Friday so one can reasonably surmise that the rookie will suit up. Foster only got 11 snaps in the 49ers season opener before leaving with the injury so he is very green. But as Allen has demonstrated in Washington, it doesn’t necessarily take Alabama defenders long to adjust to the NFL.
—All week, my Twitter timeline has been peppered with questions about whether Mack Brown will play since Rob Kelley (ankle) is doubtful. He could get a crack today. One of the few areas where San Francisco is in the top ten statistically is average yards per opponent rushing attempt. The 49ers are eighth, giving up 3.6 per attempt. Samaje Perine, who is expected to start, is averaging 3.1 per carry. If he doesn’t improve on that significantly in the early going, or if he loses the handle on the ball again, we could see Brown getting a shot.
—A key for the Redskins will be getting the 49ers to continue to struggle on third down on both sides of the ball. On offense, San Francisco converts on just 29.7 percent of their third downs, 31st in the league. Defensively, opponents have racked up first downs at a 47.4 percent clip. That’s also 31st in the NFL. If the Redskins can convert nearly half of their third downs tomorrow and if the defense can hold the line to less than a third, Washington should be in very good shape.
Prediction: You could argue that if not for failed red zone trips against the Eagles and Chiefs the Redskins would be undefeated. The home team should be able to handle San Francisco. Their ability to get touchdowns and not field goals when they get into the red zone will be the difference between a win that has fans saying, “is that all you got?” and a blowout that would give credence to the top-10 power rankings around the internet. I don’t think they will hang half a hundred up like they did the last time a bad 49ers team came to Washington but there is no reason why this shouldn’t be an easy win for the home team.
Redskins 38, 49ers 14
Predictions season record: 1-3
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In case you missed it
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