Matchup: Washington Redskins (0-0) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers(0-0)
Kickoff: Monday, September 12, 7:10 PM EDT
Location: FedEx Field
Television: ESPN, ABC 7 (local)
Radio: Redskins Radio Network, Westwood One Sports
Odds: Steelers (-3)
Last Week: Washington cut their roster to 53 players after finishing the preseason 3-1.
Matchup History: Washington leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1933, 42-32-3, but Pittsburgh has won each of the last five contests. The Redskins will look to score their first win on the Steel City since 1991, the year they went on to win the Super Bowl.
2015 Rankings (Yards Gained/Allowed):
Washington – Offense (17th), Defense (28th)
Pittsburgh – Offense (3rd), Defense (21st)
Pittsburgh’s Strength: There is a reason Antonio Brown is the popular first overall draft pick in fantasy football this year. The Central Michigan product is a dynamic threat in both the short, intermediate, and deep ranges. As a result, the Steelers passing attack is one that strikes fear into opposing defenses. Even though Washington has an improved secondary, defensive coordinator Joe Barry understands the difficulty of containing the Ben Roethlisberger to Brown connection. Pittsburgh has also done a nice job protecting Brown by developing secondary receivers that can take advantage of single coverage.
"Yeah, he’s something else. I think the combination of [No.] 7 [Ben Roethlisberger] and [No.] 84 [Antonio Brown]… and they have a nice complement in addition to that. That’s always the hard thing. You’ve got to be careful focusing so much on one jersey number because there’s other guys. The tight end’s played well, [No.] 81 [Jesse James] with [No.] 83 [Heath Miller] retiring. [No.] 11 [Markus Wheaton] is a great player, [No.] 17 [Eli Rogers] is a great player." - Barry on preparing for Brown.
Pittsburgh’s Weakness: As good as the Steelers passing offense is, their passing defense is a glaring point of attack for opposing offenses. Behind cornerback William Gay, Pittsburgh can barely put enough men on the field against five wide receiver sets. Ross Cockrell has struggled during his time in the NFL and Justin Gilbert is still learning the team's terminology after getting traded from the Browns. Pittsburgh cannot yet rely on youngsters Senquez Golson, Artie Burns, or Sean Davis, which causes further problems with their depth.
Fantasy Focus: DeSean Jackson over Antonio Brown? We examine Scout Fantasy's Redskins rankings for Week1.
Prediction: With a strong Pittsburgh passing offense and poor passing defense coupled with a strong passing offense and poor rushing defense for Washington, Monday Night football has the potential to be a shootout. The outcome is likely going to come down to who makes the fewest miscues. If the Redskins can minimize their penalty issues from the preseason and not commit any turnovers, they have a shot to earn their third MNF at FedEx Field.
Final score: 31-30, Washington.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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