NFL Week 4 Preview: Washington Redskins vs. Oakland Raiders

mcfadden skinsComing off a tough loss on Monday Night to the Denver Broncos, the Raiders will have to turn it around fast as they host the Washington Redskins with both teams having some quarterback issues coming into their showdown in Oakland.

The Raiders are likely to be without quarterback Terrelle Pryor afterhe suffered a concussion on Monday night, meaning the reins will be handed to Matt Flynn. The Redskins’ Robert Griffin III has lacked his explosiveness since coming back from his ACL surgery and some are calling for Kirk Cousins to replace him if Griffin is unable to be as dynamic on the run as he was last season.

The good thing for the Raiders offense this week, the Redskins have been one of the worst defenses in the league through the first three weeks. They are equally bad against the run and pass which is pretty surprising considering Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan should be one of the best pass rushing tandems in the league, and London Fletcher has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the NFL the last few years.

Despite that, the Redskins have only eight sacks and rank next to last in both passing and rushing defense. This game could come down to the trenches. If the Raiders offensive line can hold up at the point of attack, there should be plenty of running lanes for Darren McFadden and both Denarius Moore and Rod Streater should see some decent targets regardless of who is the quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins offense hasn’t been much better. Their numbers may look good, but a good amount of that came in garbage time against the Eagles and Packers after the Redskins had fallen far behind.

With Griffin not quite himself, the Redskins haven’t been able to run the ball as effectively, dropping to 20th after leading the league in rushing last season. The Raiders are right in the middle of the pack defensively, but the key to stopping the Redskins will be to keep the running game in check.

If the Raiders are able to contain Alfred Morris on the ground, the Redskins will have to rely strictly on their passing game which is good but not great. The Redskins thrive when able to use the run to set up the pass, but if RGIII isn’t a threat, it hampers the running game making Griffin strictly a pocket passer.

Pierre Garcon is easily the game changer amongst the Redskin wideouts, so keeping him in check is a must. After him, guys like Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, and tight end Fred Davis are solid, if not, unspectacular options. The Raiders secondary could very well have the advantage there so it will be on D.J. Hayden, Tracy Porter, and Charles Woodson to keep these receivers in front of them.

Griffin has thrown the ball at least 40 times in every game this season, which is not the way the Redskins want to play. If the Raiders can force a turnover or two and get out ahead, it will go a long way towards notching their second victory of the season. If Flynn is unable to get the offense going, however, it could be a long day as the Redskins are capable of putting points on the board.