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Redskins-Broncos: 5 keys and a prediction

Oct 25, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Orakpo-vs.-TEN

Five things to look for in Redskins vs. Broncos plus a prediction:

1. This could probably go into every game preview in this and every other season but turnovers will be critical. The Broncos are plus-7 in the takeaway-giveaway ratio while the Redskins are at minus-1. Denver lost the turnover battle against the Colts on Sunday, giving it away three times and getting just one takeaway. The Broncos also lost the ball when Peyton Manning was sacked and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety. Not coincidentally, that game is the Broncos’ only loss.

2. Redskins fans will probably be relieved if the game is close at halftime, but if that’s the case it’s a typical Broncos game. Denver has outscored its opponents by just a combined 24 points in the first halves of their games (128-104). That means their average lead at halftime has been just three or four points. But Denver blows the doors off of the other team in the second half, piling up a margin of 77 points (170-93, 11 points/game). So root for the Redskins to have a solid halftime lead and maybe they will be able to hang on.

3. There is simply no excuse for the Redskins to kick to Trindon Holliday. Last week Devin Hester had a flashback to his former consistent brilliance. Holliday is in his prime right now. He has a touchdown on punt returns and he averaged 11.4 yards a pop. His kickoff return stat line features a 105-yard TD return and a dazzling 34.9-yard average.

4. The Denver running backs aren’t much to be concerned about as the team averages just 3.8 yards per rush. But running just isn’t a sidelight to Peyton Manning’s passing. They have run the ball 200 times (the league average per team is 178) and Knowshawn Moreno has a nose for the end zone with eight touchdown carries. It seems that whenever a team starts getting mesmerized by Manning along comes Moreno or Monte Ball to pop a run for a key first down. They probably aren’t going to get loose for a long run—the long run among the RB’s is just 25 yards—but their pieces to the puzzle that has the Broncos on pace to shatter the all-time single season scoring record.

5. Can the Redskins’ pass rush get to Manning? The Colts sacked him four times last Sunday and there’s no doubt that the Redskins will be taking a good, long look at the film from that game. One of the most amazing aspect of Manning’s and the Colts’ season on offense has been the fact that Ryan Clady, who has three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro honors on his resume, was able to play in just the first two games before going out for the season with a foot injury. Chris Clark, an undrafted four-year veteran, has filled in and the offense hasn’t missed a beat. Perhaps there is a way to exploit that matchup with Brian Orakpo and perhaps another pass rusher like Darryl Tapp or Rob Jackson.

I think that the Redskins can make this one interesting and they have a very outside chance of pulling off the upset. But it’s too small a chance for me to predict it.

Broncos 45, Redskins 35

  1. redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I was checking out the PFF site that I paid extra money for to get an inside view of their stats. One surprise you may be unwilling to accept is that Polumbus has improved significantly this season. He is actually ranked 17th among all tackles in the NFL. He has positive numbers in his pass blocking which has him yielding only 1 QB sack, 4 QB hits, and 9 QB hurries. I’ll stick to the subject of the offense line here. Another interesting report card on our line is that Trent Williams has not allowed a sack this season. TW has 0 QB sacks, 2 QB hits, and 5 QB hurries. Overall TW is 5th but is the highest rated pass blocking tackle in the league and has been for most the season. Lich may be having his best season yet where he is ranked 3rd overall yielding 1 QB sack, 0 QB hits, and 6 QB hurries. I think for Lich it took him time to recover from the serious knee injury and prior to that injury in 2011 he was one of the best performing guards in the league.

    Now for the ugly news on our line. Do you want to know where the bulk of the pressure is coming from? How about Chris Chester who has allowed 21 hurries but amazingly no QB sacks yet. However he is ranked as one of the worst overall performing guards in the league. Will Montgomery has yielded 10 hurries but still is overall ranked 9th among Centers. So you can see where defenses have been able to apply the pressure on the Redskins. Right between Chester and Montgomery. Montgomery’s performance has dipped a bit from last season but not by much and also has not allowed a QB sack this season. He really is one of the most overlooked and unappreciated players in the league.

    I’m sure many will argue that the return of the zone read has staved off many QB sacks, hits, and hurries. However it only resurfaced in the Cowboy game. IMO; the offense line is a quality one as a group. Not elite but better than most give it credit for. While the group has not performed as well run blocking that has most to do with the fact that all season defenses have been loading the edge with blitzing linebackers. Remember this group is all about zone blocking not power blocking. The zone blocking can’t perform well when defenses don’t respect the pass and load up on stopping the run. So with RG3 showing he is getting back to form and Jordan Reed exploiting the fact that few safeties/linebackers can cover him, I expect us to be putting up many points at regularity. With our coverage and tackling situation on defense, we’ll need all the points we can get from the offense.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Not going to argue that OL is better than its reputation. I will note that last year members of the OL would occasionally rail against sites like PFF saying that they didn’t know what the blocking assignments are. Not that they keep close tabs on PFF or anything but they do read some things.

      Not much of that talk this year.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        I can certainly agree that PFF is not a perfect system for rating performance. I can also see how the sites ability to record statistics may be misleading with many atypical systems lke zone blocking. However, I appreciate the level of effort they place into reading into those statisitics with the intent of getting better at breaking down how a player grades. I think at the very least PFF has challenged the traditional manner in how statistics was recorded in the NFL. It has exposed many weaknesses with those numbers like QB passer ratings.

  2. rahwayhomey - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I think it’s time we see Skins D rise up & get after Manning & bring him down to earth. Orakpo & Kerrigan, 2 bull-rushers in their time, have no excuse not to get to him. He likes the quick release & short pops, but I’m hoping Haslet lives up to that nice paycheck Mr Snyder is payin him. Running game has got to dominate & no stupid special teams plays, & this could be season changing game. C’mon Skins, time to shock the NFL!

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Nice pep comment rahwayhomey, I just hope we have a real safety around to play that position.

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