MATCHUP: Redskins vs. Colts

Washington has a chance, once again, to win at home. This time it's in a homecoming game of sorts, with members of the Redskins' 70th anniversary team in attendance. ''It adds to the whole Sunday night show,'' Redskins tackle Jon Jansen said. ''It's great to have a sense of history to realize that you're part of a greater scheme.''

What the Redskins (2-4) really need is a win--or they'll be history. The Colts (4-2) are coming off a short week and must prove that they're a legit team, something many people doubt.

Offensive player to watch: Left tackle Alex Sulfsted, if Chris Samuels can't play (he's doubtful). Sulfsted has played one quarter at this spot in the regular season. Now he'll be matched against the Colts tenacious Chad Bratzke. Good luck. This isn't what the Redskins needed. We know the staff likes Sulfsted, as did Marty Schottenheimer. But this is a rough test.

Defensive player to watch: Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete. He'll likely start for Sam Shade at strong safety, which is something we advocated this summer. Ohalete is a playmaker, something Washington lacked at safety. The key will be to watch Ohalete against the run, see the angles he's taking to the ball and if he's out of position. Those are the areas where Shade usually fares well.

Wondering about: Punt returner Jacquez Green. Since his punt return for a score against Philadelphia, he's gained 34 yards on nine returns with a long of 15. Green freely admits that he's looking for a touchdown every time he touches the ball. That's fine, except with this offense. They need all the help and yards they can get. And if Green fields the ball at the 20, he must get to the 30. Anything beyond that is gravy. Instead, Green has been fielding the ball at the 20, racing straight across the field and losing yards, or gaining just a few.

Don't be awed by: The Colts ranking against the pass. They have a steady pass rush, but keep in mind that Indy has played Houston, Baltimore and Cincinnati--the three worst teams throwing the ball. This is why one Redskins offensive veteran said this week, ''Stats are like bikinis. They're revealing, but they don't tell everything.'' But we do like Indy corner Walt Harris and he has helped. We're just not sure what to make of the Colts' defense. Yet.

How the Redskins can win: Before Chris Samuels was downgraded to doubtful, we thought Washington would definitely win. Now? Not so sure. The Redskins should be able to run the ball on Indy and, if they're patient, they'll do OK in the air. That's why we liked Shane Matthews' return to the lineup. You can't force plays against the Colts' cover two defense and Matthews will stay patient. Defensively, the Redskins must stop the Colts trio of Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James and Peyton Manning. The Colts line hasn't run-blocked well, so Washington must excel on first down, putting Manning into must-throw situations. We like tackle Daryl Gardener inside against guard Rick DeMulling. If Gardener isn't double teamed, his penetration will force James to cut way too soon. And we've sign signs of growth in Washington's defense. If the offense can just stop putting them in bad situations. But the key to the game is clearly the Redskins' offensive line. If they protect Matthews and can open a few holes for Stephen Davis, the Redskins will win.

Signs of trouble: Matthews getting hit within three seconds of the snap. . . .Edgerrin James getting big runs early in the game. . . Washington's linebackers being overly aggressive against James, whose cutbacks would hurt them.

Silly stats: Harrison has caught at least eight passes in five straight games . . . The Redskins are 25-7 when Stephen Davis rushes for at least 80 yards; 2-19 when he doesn't. . . Washington RT Jon Jansen and C Larry Moore have combined for 110 NFL starts; the other three likely starters Sunday have combined for seven.


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