LANDOVER, Md. – The Patriots will try to get to 10-3 today against a Redskins team that will sorely be missing three players: left tackle Trent Williams, tight end Fred Davis and safety LaRon Landry. Here are the keys to another Patriots victory:
- Stay stout against the run: Mike Shanahan teams usually do the zone runs better than anyone and after some struggles, they’ve done a nice job the previous two games with RB Roy Helu going over 100 yards in each game. The Patriots will need to do some two-gapping up front with the tackles (look out for those cutblocks) and the linebackers need to hit the right gaps.
- Get after Grossman: Redskins QB Rex Grossman is very streaky and when he’s on, he can be very good. But he gets undisciplined under pressure. The Patriots set season lows with just eight QB pressures in each of the past two games. They need to be better to give the secondary some help. Andre Carter needs to eat up whoever starts at LT after Williams’ suspension.
- Run it: The Redskins can get after the quarterback up front with a solid defensive line and outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. The Patriots need to keep the heat off of Brady and the best way is to make the Redskins fear the run first.
- When in doubt, go to Gronk: Landry being out is a huge blow to a good Redskins defense. The Redskins are going to have trouble defending the middle of the field without him, so expect Tom Brady to look for the big fella a lot off of playaction.
- Take care of the ball: Patriots are 7-1 when they are even or win the turnover battle. They’re incredibly tough to beat if they don’t turn the ball over with Brady under center. Surest way to enable an upset is to be charitable.
Don’t have a great feeling about this game. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is one of the league’s best and he’ll be aggressive. The Redskins can do a lot of things defensively that give the Patriots trouble – pressure Brady and play physical coverage. But at the end of the day, we think that Bad Rex will surface enough and the Redskins won’t be able to sustain the losses of several key players.
Patriots 27, Redskins 17.