Limping Redskins look to close out home schedule with a victory

A win is a win.  But, in what was the ugliest win the Washington Redskins have had in a while there was little to celebrate.  The 5-9 Denver Broncos come stampeding into Landover, MD after beating the Indianapolis Colts last Thursday night.  Both teams are completely out of the playoff picture, but that does not mean the players are not playing for something.  There are still performance bonuses and potential roster spots on the line these next two games.

Keys to the Game

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  • Stack the Box – The Indianapolis Colts have not been the best litmus test for gaging how good a run offense is. J. Anderson ran all over them for 158 yards on 30 carries.  As a team, the Broncos ran for 211 yards on 46 carries.  Greg Manusky needs to trust his defensive backs in man coverage and stack the box.  Force Brock Osweiler to beat them.  If the Redskins can hold the Broncos to about 100 rushing yards as a team, they should be in a great position to win.
  • Trust the Run Game – It has been noted that the Redskins have had more than their fair share of injuries this year. On position that has been hit the hardest are the running backs.  The Redskins on lined up to be using their 7th and 8th running backs against the Broncos.  This should not deter Jay Gruden from running the ball at least 25 times this game.  With Von Miller ready to have a sack fest with Trent Williams out, it is imperative to keep the pressure off of Kirk Cousins and keep him upright.
  • Screen Game, Strong – As mentioned above, Von Miller is teed up to have a good day against the Redskins offense. One of the best ways to keep him from pinning his ears back is to use the screen game at a higher rate than normal.  Kapri Bibbs showed last week that he has the speed and agility to be an effective third down back.  Bibbs will be a lynch pin to how successful the offense can be and if drives can be sustained.
  • Crowder of Christmas Past – We saw a glimmer last week of how Crowder can drive defenses nuts. He was able to get off the defensive back and create space to get open.  Duplicating these results on quick routes will be essential for the passing game to march forward.  If Crowder rediscovers the yipps he has been battling all season, it will be another long day for the offense.
  • Make Special Teams Great Again – Time and time again, the Special Teams has been less than special. Pre-snap penalties, muffed kicks and poor kick coverage have cost the Redskins at least two games this year.  The Special Teams took a step back in the right direction, but they will need more from their return game to succeed.  This game is ultimately going to be about field position and the Redskins cannot afford to keep starting inside the 25-yard line each possession.

Prediction: With all the injuries the Redskins have had this year, this is the part of the schedule where they have enough talent left to pull out a victory.  This game against the Broncos will be another tough and ugly one, but winnable.  Cousins will end up on his back and take his hits.  The running game will most likely be as bad as we have seen it at its worst this year.  But, the defense should be able to be stout enough against a meandering Broncos offense to be the catalyst to the Redskins 7th victory this year.

Line: WAS -3.0, Prediction: DEN 16, WAS 20

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