Washington earned a victory over the Rams last week. After yesterday’s L.A. win over San Fransisco, it looks impressive.
A Skins win over Oakland would be crucial and a large step forward for this team who needs consistent results to bolster confidence.
Here is what the Burgundy and Gold must do to win on Sunday.
– Kirk Cousins needs to wake up. The highly paid QB has been average through his first two starts. There was margin for error in both of those games, but there will be a lot less room for mistakes against the vaunted Raiders Defense. Cousins has struggled with the deep ball without DeSean Jackson. His longest completion is just 34 yards to this point. His QBR is half of what it was the last two seasons and his completion percentage is down. The narrative this offseason was that Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson would seamlessly replace Pierre Garcon and Jackson. Garcon had 142 yards last night. Pryor has struggled with drops and Doctson has been targeted once in two games and has zero stats.
– Make the Raiders throw underneath. One of the problems Oakland presents is they stretch the field vertically in the passing game. They are 5th in the league in yards per completion and the Redskins defense struggled against the Eagles when Philly went deep. Plus, Washington is more of a short route team so the Skins defense isn’t used to practicing against that style. Derek Carr protects the ball well, he has yet to throw a pick, so an interception will likely be a lucky break or pure Josh Norman skill. Only seven teams who have played multiple games have yet to throw a pick.
– If Rob Kelley is banged up, get Chris Thompson those extra touches. I’m as big of a Samaje Perine fan as anybody can be from a largely unproven rookie, but Thompson has been lights out and now is not the time to indoctrinate a rookie. Kelley is a bruising back who is dealing with a rib injury, so it might be tough for him to play a full game at a high level.
– There are several who believe Oakland’s schedule to this point of Titans and Jets, who both posses below average defenses, will allow Washington to score points early. I don’t disagree with that idea, but it’s important for D.C. to not get to excitable if they take a lead. Therefore….
– Treat this as a playoff game. No mistakes. No groan worthy, cringe inducing plays. Stop the run. Do all of the little things you possibly can, because the talent gap is there and the Raiders have a lot more confidence than Washington and if they fall into a hole, can easily overcome a deficit. Keep the pedal to the floor if Cousins and Co. manage to gain a lead.