The San Francisco 49ers travel east this weekend to play the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Some people might look at this as an easy win for the 49ers, but other people might not be so confident. Just how much of a threat are the Redskins?
The Redskins are one of the few playoff teams from last year that have had an horribly disappointing year. As soon as they seem to break out of their funk, they tailspin down to a new low. Many 49er fans are lamenting the current struggles that the 49ers are having, but they should be thankful that they aren’t having the Redskins season. I mean after all, 6-4 and still controlling a wildcard spot is much better than 3-7 and being last in your division even though a divisional opponent started the season 0-6. But this is the NFL and you cannot sleep on an opponent. The Redskins are still dangerous.
Despite their struggles, the Redskins are still dangerous on offense. They are ranked sixth in the league in yards per game (412.1) and 13th in points per game (24.6). The Redskins have potent offense that can beat just about anyone on a good day. The 49ers defense is going to have to play very well in order to slow down Washington’s offense.
The Redskins and the 49ers have a couple things in common. One thing is that they both have a dynamic dual threat quarterback that took the NFL by storm. Unfortunately for both teams, both their quarterbacks have struggled or are struggling this season. Because of their young quarterbacks are struggling, they are both relying on their running games and they are both working. The Redskins are currently ranked 1st in the NFL with 155.2 yards on ground per game. This is where they make their living; running the ball.
The 49ers are currently allowing teams to run 103.8 yards per game which is good for 12th in the league. With starting defensive end Ray McDonald most likely not playing again this week, the 49ers are going to have their work cut of for them against the run. The 49ers’ strength on defense is their linebackers. They are going to need a big game from both inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
Even though the Redskins like to run the ball and are good at it, Robert Griffin III is still a huge threat. He may not have the same confidence as last year, but he can still wreak havoc on a defense. The 49ers are going to have great coverage on the back end against Griffin, even with starting corner Tarrell Brown being out with a rib injury. The are also going to need to bottle him up and force him to stay inside the pocket and beat them with his arm.
Washington’s main struggles come on defense. They are allowing 31.1 points per game which ranks 30th in the entire league. The 49ers need to take advantage of the Redskins’ porous defense. The 49ers are having offensive struggles, and this might just be the game to figure everything out. The Redskins are allowing 274.9 yards in the air and 115.0 yards on the ground defensively which rank 26th and 19th respectively. The 49ers don’t have a great passing game, but the Redskins are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to defending the pass. If Washington tries to stack the box in order to stop the 49ers’ running game, the 49ers must be able to pass on this struggling secondary. If they can’t then the 49ers have some serious problems.
All in all, the Redskins are still a dangerous team to play, especially at home. The 49ers must come out of the gates strong to try and frustrate this already frustrated team. If they can do that, they have a very good chance at moving to 7-4 and keeping the playoff hopes alive.