The Washington Redskins have been red hot in the month of October. They stand at 5-2 and surprisingly at the top of the NFC East. Their defense has been doing it all for them. They are on a tear at the moment, beating the Panther, Cowboys, and Giants during their three game winning streak. The Falcons are coming off a bye week still with injuries, however the break should have given this defense a chance to regroup and make a statement as they close out the first half of the season.
The Resurgence of Adrian Peterson
Last week Adrian Peterson carried the Redskins to a victory, rushing for almost 150 yards and cashing in two scores. The Redskins are ranked 25th in scoring offense, however are 8th in the league in rushing. Adrian Peterson has led this team, averaging 128 yards per game and sits 5th in the league overall. Atlanta ranks 20th in run defense. The Falcons will need to slow down Adrian Peterson to control this offense. Alex Smith and their weak receiving core is nothing special, but if AP can wear down this front 7, Dan Quinn could be in trouble. Keeping All Day in the backfield will guarantee a lack of scoring from this Redskin offense.
Cannot Forget About Chris Thompson
Thompson has been out for a good portion of the season, but he returned quietly last week against the New York Giants and saw some touches. As we all know, Atlanta has had more than its fair share of tackling woes and Chris Thompson is one of those shifty running backs that can exploit this defense. I expect Thompson to get more receptions this week considering the Redskins will need to be able to hang with Atlanta offensively. In week 7 Atlanta was able to maintain Saquon Barkley all game thanks to solid tackling from everyone on the defense. If that success continues, we should have nothing to worry about.
Alex Smith is the most famous “Game Manager” in the league. In order to crack game managers, the entire team must bring pressure. Although the safeties are still young and learning and our corners got toasted by the Giants in Week 7, Washington has no stud that requires more attention than anyone else. Trufant should be able to see Paul Richardson one on one all day. Alford may be out, but Isaiah Oliver had a good week of practice and should be able to handle speedster Josh Doctson. If our secondary can play tight, it will require Alex Smith to make plays putting the ball in tight spots. Both Grady Jarrett and Takk McKinley should be energized and ready to force the ball out of Smith’s hands quick. Smith is not the greatest under pressure and this defense is rested and fresh to apply it.
This match-up is a tough game between two completely different teams. Although Washington’s defense is strong, I believe the bye week has given Sarkisian plenty of time to figure out how to pick it a part. Additionally, the fresh defense should be ready to take over Washington with its speed. In a game that Washington is favored at home, I believe Atlanta’s offense will be too high powered for Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson to keep up. My prediction 31-20 Atlanta.