The Redskins will host the Falcons at 1:00 PM on Sunday and look to hand Atlanta their first loss on the season. Redskins Nation knows that the key match-up of this game is going to be Matt Ryan and the explosive Falcon offense vs. the Redskins defense, and in particular the secondary.
There is little doubt that Atlanta is going to put points on the board so more than likely, per the usual, it is going to be up to the offense led by Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris to see if they can keep up.
These are the keys to the game if the Washington Redskins want to upset the Atlanta Falcons:
Get to Matt Ryan early and Often
Matt Ryan has weapons all around him, so it will be up to the Redskins defensive line to try and disrupt him early in the game. Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and the combination of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers is going to be hard to slow down for any defense. Washington needs to set the tone early and force quick dump off passes and prevent Ryan from getting enough time for the big play.
Atlanta’s offensive line has already given up 11 sacks, so it is not as if this task is impossible. Jim Haslett should put the pressure on early, and keep it on.
Run, Run, Run
The Redskins, lead by Griffin and Morris, are in the top of many of the rushing categories so far this season. As a team, they are 2nd in total rush yards (684), 2nd in rushing yards per game (171), and 1st in total rushing touchdowns (8). All 8 of those rushing touchdowns have come from the teams starting QB and RB, as they are both tied for 1st overall in that category at 4 (along with Arian Foster).
Atlanta’s defense sits 29th overall in rushing yards allowed at 146.2 per game.
Having a healthy Pierre Garcon back (hopefully) should do wonders to open up some of the running lanes for Griffin and Morris. Establishing the rush and slowly pounding away game clock is going to be the best defense they can play, keeping Matt Ryan on the sidelines.
It is going to be a tough task for sure, even if the Redskins are able to excel in these two categories. But if they are able to disrupt Atlanta’s offense early, and control the clock with the run game, there is no reason to doubt that Robert Griffin can put this team in position to upset the Falcons.