Washington hosts Carolina with a potential NFC East title on the line
Quick Game, Quick Results
One of the concerns that we have had is the slow start the offense continues to deliver. The first quarter offense is the definition of insanity. No matter who the starting quarterback is, the offense needs a quick and productive start. Without Terry McLaurin, the offense loses their best slant route runner. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options to help get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly. Logan Thomas is the top option against a Carolina defense that plays poorly against tight ends. Antonio Gandy-Golden and Isaiah Wright could also see some work in the slot as Steven Sims, Jr.’s playing time and touches have started to decrease each week. Putting up points early won’t let Carolina to bring different blitz packages and cause problems all afternoon. It will also allow Washington’s defense to play to its strength in making Teddy Bridgewater uncomfortable all afternoon.
Slow Down Samuel
With running back Christian McCaffrey out for the game against Washington, Carolina is going to need to be creative moving the ball around. Running back Mike Davis has only eclipsed 15 carries 4 times in which he has had a snap share of over 70 percent. Davis has also only surpassed 70 yards rushing twice this year back in Week 4 and Week 5. This means that head coach Matt Rhule will need to be creative with moving the ball on the ground. That is where wide receiver Curtis Samuel comes in. Samuel is second on the team in receptions (65) and has the highest quarterback rating when thrown to him (111.3) of qualifying receivers on the roster. There have been games where he has been used on jet sweeps and blasted his way unaccounted for into the end zone. They find ways to get the ball into his hands and let him go to work. Washington’s linebackers will need to account for Samuel every time he is on the field as he could be the difference in holding the Panthers to under 20 points.
Avoid Taking It On The Chinn
The rookie class on the defensive side of the ball has begun to live up to some of their expectations. Outside Linebacker Jeremy Chinn is no different. Shaq Thompson gets a lot of the spot light already having been in the league, Chinn has been turning heads. Not necessarily in the passing game where opposing quarterbacks have a 114.3 rating and 74.5 completion percentage when he drops into coverage. It is when defensive coordinator Al Holcomb dials up the blitz that should have Scott Turner worried. He leads the team in blitzes (54) and combined tackles (102). When the Panthers set Chinn loose, it allows for the opposing quarterback to roll right in to Brian Burns who leads the team in sacks (8). Whomever ends up under center for Washington is going to need to account for Chinn on the field. It will be a long day if Chinn is able to impose his will.
The Carolina Panthers will not be an easy out. The Panthers have lost by seven points or less in six of their ten losses. Bridgewater has gotten stronger as the season has worn on and has had the time to digest Rhule’s offense. The defense is clearly a strength and how Carolina wants to win their games. Washington will need to take advantage of a porous Panther offensive line and make Bridgewater uncomfortable. Scott Turner will also need to dial up the pressure on Carolina’s linebacker’s feeding running back J.D. McKissic and Logan Thomas more then last week. Getting running back Antonio Gibson back for this match-up will be a big help easing some of the load on McKissic. While rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden will look to contribute meaningfully for the first time this year. It’ll be close, but a big second half by Dwayne Haskins will be the difference in a Washington win that could clinch them the NFC East for the first time since 2015.
Carolina 20 Washington 23
Game Info: Time: 4:05 PM EST – FedEx Field; Landover, MD
TV: CBS – Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn
Radio: The Team 980, ESPN 630, 105.9 WMAL – Julie Donaldson, Bram Weinstein, DeAngelo Hall
Line: CAR -1; O/U 42.5