In what should be one of, if not the most anticipated game on the Redskins' 2020 schedule, Washington will go on the road to take on Trent Williams and his new team.
The Redskins and their revamped defensive line will get a shot at a bit of redemption in Week 14 against the 49ers. Williams, of course, was traded to San Francisco for a 2020 fifth-round pick (Keith Ismael) and a 2021 third-round pick, which ended a year-long saga between Washington and the seven-time Pro-Bowler.
How much of a chance do the Redskins have against their old friend? Let's break it down and find out.
Tale of the tape
It'd be an understatement to say the defensive line is Washington's strongest unit. After selecting Chase Young with the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Redskins have now used four of their last five picks on defensive linemen.
Young joins Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan on what should be one of the league's best front-fours. This roster-building strategy should look plenty familiar to the 49ers, who took Nick Bosa No. 2 in 2019 despite having Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner already holding up a formidable defensive line.
Washington's defensive line has a nice blend of size, speed and power across all four spots, and whoever matches up with Williams, whether it be Sweat, Young or Kerrigan, most likely won't have to face a double team all game. The Redskins posted the eighth-best sack percentage in the NFL last season, and that was before they added a generational pass rusher in Young.
Dominating the line of scrimmage is key to any victory in the NFL, and it'll be a significant challenge for Washington when they go up against the 49ers. San Francisco sported a dominant rushing attack last year, averaging 144.1 rushing yards per game. The only team who averaged more yards on the ground were the Ravens (206).
On the flip side, the Redskins gave up the second-most rushing yards-per-game last season (146.2). Williams is one of the most athletic left tackles the game has ever seen, and head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely use that to his advantage on running plays in an attempt to get Williams blocking into the second level. The left side will not be an easy edge to set for Washington.
When it comes to getting to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Redskins should expect that to be a battle as well. Garoppolo is known for getting the ball out quickly and the 49ers were in the middle of the pack last season when it came to sack percentage. Washington will have its work cut out getting him to the ground, which will grow more difficult over the course of the game if they can't stop the run.
Who has the edge?
It's hard not to give the team who went 13-3 last season and added Trent Williams to their offensive line the advantage over the Redskins. By the time this game rolls around, Washington could be in a very different place than they're perceived right now.
Until then though, they're going to be considered major underdogs against the 49ers.
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