The Washington Redskins are 6-3 and have a two game lead in the NFC East over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Despite the two-game lead, many analysts are still choosing the Cowboys or the reigning Superbowl champion Eagles to win the division. This is due to Washington’s lack of a passing game and the long list of injuries that keep piling up.
Washington is still in prime position to win their first division title since 2015. Washington has two games remaining against teams with winning records and this week is one of them. The Houston Texans are also 6-3 and first place in the AFC South as they have won their last six in a row. They are coming off of their bye week and the majority of their team is healthy. If Washington is to win this week, they will need to do these three things to defeat the Texans.
Stop Deshaun Watson
Stopping Watson is easier said than done. If Watson has any room he will take off and hurt opposing defenses with his legs. Watson has rushed for 268 yards this season and one touchdown.
At the same time if he has enough time in the pocket he can make opposing teams pay with his arm. It also doesn’t hurt that he has Deandre Hopkins to throw the ball to. In wins this season Watson has thrown for 12 touchdowns compared to the five he has thrown in losses. This year Watson has thrown for 2,389 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
If Washington wants to win on Sunday and prove to the league that they belong in the playoffs they will need to disrupt Watson as much as possible. That starts with the defensive line who has been speculator all year.
The line is led by Matt Ioannidis who leads the team in sacks with 7.5 and the Alabama boys Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Payne has been able to pick up double teams to allow the other two to sack opposing quarterbacks with ease. They will need more of this on Sunday. Ryan Kerrigan will have to step up to put as much pressure on Watson as possible so his receivers never have time to get open.
Protect Alex Smith from J.J. Watt
Washington’s offensive line has two pro bowlers in Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams. Unfortunately, Scherff is out for the season and Williams broke his hand and won’t be able to return on Sunday. To make matters worse starting guard Shawn Luavao is also out for the season and for the second straight week Washington will have three backups in the starting lineup.
The makeshift line did well against Tampa Bay, but will be put to the test against three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Watt has nine sacks and four forced fumbles on the season and will be looking to boost those numbers Sunday.
Limit Deandre Hopkins
Deandre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the game and will be looking to feast against the Washington secondary. So far this season Hopkins has 63 receptions for 894 yards and seven touchdowns. Hopkins has caught a touchdown in five of the teams six wins. Washington will need to keep him out of the end zone if they want to win this Sunday.
Washington’s pass defense ranks 25th in the league as they are allowing 270.1 passing yards a game. They have already given up big games to top receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. (eight receptions, 136 yards) and Julio Jones (seven receptions, 121 yards, one touchdown). Josh Norman will primarily face off against Hopkins. Starting cornerback Quinton Dunbar is questionable as he has been battling a shin injury for the last few games and he will be missed if he cannot play this Sunday. Watch for Safety D.J. Swearinger to play closer to Hopkins to help out on shots down the field.
Feature Image From Sportsbook Review.
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