Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 12, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.
Here is how the Redskins stack up against the Panthers, position by position:
The chances are good that Alex Smith will bounce back after a very disappointing outing against the Saints. His 2018 numbers are almost identical to those of the Panthers’ Cam Newton. Although Smith can run some, Newton’s average of nearly five yards per carry and three TDs give him the edge.
Slight advantage Panthers
This is really a two for one comparison. For the Redskins, Adrian Peterson covers first and second downs and Chris Thompson comes in for passing situations. For Carolina, Christian McCaffrey does it all. No other running back on the team has more than 16 rushing attempts or one reception. McCaffrey may be more effective than either Redskin individually but the combination favors Washington.
Slight advantage Redskins
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tight end Greg Olson may play for the Panthers for the first time this year after recovering from a broken foot. Even if he is effective he will be just the third-best TE on the field behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. There are plenty of complaints about the Redskins wide receiver corps, but the Panthers top trio of Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, and Jarius Wright hasn’t been much more productive.
Panthers center Ryan Kalil has a couple of first-team All-Pro entries on his resume, and even at age 33, he’s a solid center. Right guard Trai Turner has been to the last three Pro Bowls. The rest of the line, with Chris Clark and Taylor Moton at the tackle spots and Greg Van Roten at left guard, is nothing special. The Redskins are better at three of the five spots, giving them the edge here.
Defensive Front Seven
Here the edge swings back to the Panthers. You have to like how the Redskins’ interior line is coming along but Carolina defensive tackles Kawaan Short and Dontari Poe have been doing it well for a long time. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the business when healthy and he appears to be good to go now. The Redskins have the better edge rushers, assuming Preston Smith gets rolling. Maybe the Washington D-line can make some noise in this game but for now, Carolina is the better unit.
Even after the debacle against Drew Brees and the Saints, the Redskins are still in the top 10 in pass defense DVOA, sitting in tenth at -0.6%. The Panthers are near the bottom of the league at 27th with a DVOA of 23.3% (remember that lower/negative numbers are better in defensive DVOA). Assuming that Josh Norman is able to pull it back together, the Redskins have a solid advantage here.
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Trent Williams: “At times we look like a playoff team, at times we look like a team that will be picking in the top five in the draft."— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) October 11, 2018
Today: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 2:00
Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 2 days; Cowboys @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Giants 16
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