Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's Look At......The Redskins Schedule Pt. 2

So, the 2nd half of the season is here and before we get to that let's take a brief look at the 1st half of the 2010 season. The season that debuted Donovan McNabb as the Redskins QB and Mike Shanahan as the next legendary head coach to try to get the Skins on a winning track. The 1st half didn't end well with a loss to Detroit of all teams and a benching of McNabb. That said, for a tough starting 8 games the team trying to rebuild after 2009's terrible 4-12 season have done pretty well with a strong possibility that the team could improve down the stretch.

Here's a breakdown of the 1st 8 games (from NFL.com)

- The Skins are .500 heading into the 2nd half of the season. They are already at the same win mark that the Skins had in all of 2009. In some instances, you have to think this is a good sign based on the spotty play by the entire offense, limited play by the top paid player on the team (Albert Haynesworth) a conversion to a new defensive scheme (4-3 to 3-4) and some injuries.

- The Skins are neither better at home (2-2) then they are away (2-2). Although when they lose on the road they tend to get destroyed much more then when they lose (on road lose by a total of 26 points vs. 6 points at FedEx) at home. Margin of winning is practically identical either at home or away.

- All but two games (the two losses) have been decided by 6 points or less. Again, this has been common for the Redskins over the last few years.

- The Skins are currently 0-2 vs. the AFC (This year playing the AFC South). This has been a general trend as the Redskins have struggled year after year against AFC opponents. Surprisingly, the Redskins finished 2009 with a 2-2 record against the AFCW. They finish the 2010 season with away games against the Titans and the Jaguars. I'll be surprised at this point if the Skins do better than 1-3 against the AFCS.

- The Skins are 4-2 in the NFC. While many Redskin fans are pulling their hair out for losing against losing teams like the Rams (4-5) and the Lions (2-7), they have gained key wins against good NFC teams like the Packers (6-3), Bears (6-3) and the Eagles (5-3). If the Redskins get into playoff contention, those wins will help in tiebreaker situations. The Skins still have a few conference games remaining against the Vikings and the Bucs.

- Speaking of the Eagles and the NFCE, going into week 10 the Redskins are currently 2-0 in the division. Mike Shanahan is one game away from tying and two games away from exceeding what Jim Zorn did in two seasons (3-9). A key factor in how well the Redskins do in the 2nd half will be determined by how well the Skins play the NFCE down the stretch. The Skins still have two games upcoming against the Giants (a team they have had the most amount of difficulty in the NFCE since Gibbs 2.0), the Eagles at FedEx and a trip to Dallas against the Cowboys.

I'm still standing by my 8-8 prediction. If anything I wouldn't be surprised if they went 7-9. The remaining schedule is not easy. The Skins face 7 teams (in eight games) with a combined record of 32-30 (.516). Only two of those teams have losing records (Vikings, Cowboys) and neither team are playing poorly enough to list as guaranteed wins. Also, the Skins have to play the Giants twice, which hasn't been fun to watch lately if you're a Redskins fan.

Let's look at the upcoming games just like we did in Let's Look At....pt.1

Week 10: Philadelphia @ Skins-  Last time the Skins played the Eagles, it wasn't the Donovan McNabb show. If anything it was the defenses game as not only did they shut down the Eagle's offense but they knocked both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy out of the game. The Skins may have to play that physical style in order to win again at home.

Key Match Ups: Redskins D vs. Eagles O, Redskins O-line vs. Eagles D-line. If the Skins can contain the run and shut down the WRs like last time, they may be able to frustrate Mike Vick. On the other side of the ball, the O-line must be able to protect McNabb and help create holes for Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams.


Fantasy Watch- Donovan McNabb. Last time he didn't fare as well as I thought in Philly, but I think if he's going to have a big game tonight is the night. When he was benched last time, he threw 4 TDs in the next game. If the O-line blocks and the WRs/TEs make catches, I think you could see some good numbers from McNabb.

Week 11: Skins @ Tennessee- Homecoming for Albert Haynesworth. While it's a non-conference game, if the Skins plan on staying in contention, they will need to try to win this one.

Key Match Ups- Redskins D vs. Chris Johnson, Redskins Secondary vs. Vince Young. First things first- the Redskins have to find a way to contain Chris Johnson. He will get yards on you, but the key is to limit his yards per carry and keep him from making any explosive big runs. Do that and force Vince Young to make mistakes. While mobile and a playmaker, Young tends to make mistakes that can lead to INTs.

Fantasy Watch- Ryan Torain/Clinton Portis etc. The pass D for the Titans seems to be pretty good, so I would expect the Skins to ru the ball

Week 12: Minnesota @ Skins- Favre vs. McNabb for the final time. The final time we'll probably see Favre at FedEx. It's a memorable game that means very little.

Key Match Up- Redskins D vs Vikings O. Shut down Adrian Peterson and then it's just Favre. His O-line isn't protecting him and his WRs aren't healthy.

Fantasy Watch- Redskins D. Brett Favre leads the league in INTs, no doubt DeAngelo Hall will want a piece of that. Last chance for Brian Orakpo to sack a legend.

Week 13: Skins @ Giants- Major NFCE matchup and depending on how the next few weeks go, could be a battle for the divison lead.

Key Match Ups- Redskins O-line vs. Giants D line, Redskins D-line vs. Giants O-line. This game will be won in the trenches. Stop the run and sack McNabb, Giants win. Stop the run and sack Eli, Skins win.

Fantasy Watch: Chris Cooley. Mcnabb will have to get the ball off quick and Cooley is a guy who can always find ways to get open.

Week 14: Tampa Bay @ Skins- Tough game against an up and coming Buccaneers team. I like the weather and the home field advantage to play a role in this game.


Key Match Up: Redskins D vs. Josh Freeman. Freeman is the master of the come back, the D will need to play 60 minutes to min this game.

Fantasy Watch: Ryan Torain. The Bucs have given up 100yd. rushing games almost each week.

Week 15: Skins @ Cowboys- the rematch from week 1. The Skins will have to deal with a Cowboys team that looks more disciplined under Jason Garrett.


Key Match Ups- Demarcus Ware vs. Trent Williams (pt.2), Brian Orakpo vs. Doug Free. Last time Williams was able to limit Ware, can he do it again? Brian Orakpo had no sacks on Tony Romo in week 1, but caused the Cowboys to get called for holding three times including on the final play of the game. Doug Free will have to do a better job especially with a less mobile Jon Kitna.

Fantasy Watch: Brandon Banks. Got a feeling that the Cowboys may overlook Banks who wasn't on the roster in week 1.

Week 16: Skins @ Jacksonville- I won't even predict what Jacksonville will do in this game, I can never figure them out from week to week.


Key Match Up- Redskins D vs. MJD. The Skins have to stop Jones-Drew either on the ground or in the air. Limit him and get some pressure on Garrard and the Skins have a shot.


Fantasy Watch: Donovan McNabb. Could have a productive game against the Jags secondary.

Week 17: Giants @ Skins- This could be a game that has significant playoff ramifications, or just be a snooze fest. Really depends on what the Giants and Skins have done the past 7 weeks.

Key Match Up- same as above.

Fantasy Watch- probably whomever is running the ball for the Skins, I expect some bad weather to limit throwing the ball.

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