Week 6 Matchup

The Redskins (2-2) hope their win over Tennessee was the start of something good. But the Redskins must start building something good at home, too. Especially against good teams. When was the last time anyone was afraid to play at FedEx Field? Washington's home field advantage has been vastly overrated for a while. It's about time that changed, starting Sunday against New Orleans (4-1).

Offensive player to watch: Guard Wilbert Brown. If he must play, he could be in for a long day. We'd like to say that Brown is some spectacular talent waiting to be tapped. But we can't. We've only seen Brown play center before last Sunday. And he'll be matched against a solid run-stuffing veteran in Grady Jackson. Brown must deal with a lot of blitzes. We hope he's ready.

Defensive player to watch: Safety David Terrell. He must provide better deep help than he has, at least against quality passing teams. There's a reason offenses have stung Washington with big plays. Terrell played well against the run last week, but his angles on deep throws are too flat. He can't take such routes against the Saints.

The Patrick Ramsey factor: The rookie expects to deal with lots of blitzes this week. The Saints hide their blitzes well and, unlike most teams, aren't afraid to send anyone. There's often no rhyme or reason to who will blitz when, making it hard for a rookie QB to figure out their tendencies.

Silly stats?: The Saints are 13-6 in road games under coach Jim Haslett. Also under Haslett, the Saints are 19-1 when leading after three quarters; 1-13 when trailing after three; 13-2 when leading at the half and 7-13 when trailing at halftime.

Don't be impressed by: Last week's defensive showing against Tennessee. They merely did what they should do against a team that can't open holes in the running game and whose best receiver, by far, was out. It was a building block, but it doesn't mean they've arrived. A solid showing Sunday will say they've turned a corner, however.

Watch out for: The big play. New Orleans has 23 plays of 20 yards or more. Washington has allowed 11 plays of 20 yards or more. Our concern is Fred Smoot's penchant for biting on double moves. You do that against New Orleans' speedy wideouts and it's a touchdown.

What to watch: How Washington's defenders swarm around Deuce McAllister. If the Redskins consistently only have one or two tacklers around him, he'll eventually break one. McAllister is a pest for linebackers like Washington's. He's patient and will cut back. Meanwhile, the Redskins' LBs love to commit fast, which could be a problem.

How the Redskins can win: It's simple. Protect Ramsey from the blitzes, giving him time to burn the Saints highly suspect corners. Washington can burn New Orleans through the air--as long as Ramsey has the chance. Also, the Redskins should be able to attack the edges in the running game, running behind their tackles against defensive ends pressed into starting roles because of injuries. Defensively, Washington must stop the big play and contain Aaron Brooks in the pocket, especially in the red zone where his running is very dangerous. The Saints are a better team, but they have glaring holes the Redskins can attack. If the defense really has turned a corner, Washington will win.


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