Gameday is here again. Later on today (actually tonight) The Washington Redskins host the infamous Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field in the Sunday Night feature game.
Tonight will pose an interesting test for these Redskins. Oakland, by some accounts, is one of the best (if not the best) teams in The NFL currently. And with the national spotlight, this Early Season matchup could be a tone setter for the rest of this Season.
But for The Redskins, this is where you want to be: at Home versus a tough Opponent. Since it’s an InterConference Matchup, there isn’t much to lose in losing the ballgame. And I’ve heard plenty of that kind of logic leading up to today from a whole host of fans.
And that thinking is wrongheaded.
My aim with this platform (among other things) is to reorient the thinking of Redskins fans. As fans, there isn’t enough POSITIVE EXPECTATION. This needs to change. The issue isn’t about whether you think The Redskins will Win this game or that game. It’s whether us, as fans, expect The Team to Win.
The nature in which many of our fans cheer The Skins could use a major adjustment.
Okay. Now that I’ve made my point, let’s dig into this matchup. Here are my keys to The Game:
- The Raiders are indeed one of the best teams in The NFL; no doubt about that. But they’re an Offensive Team. And there are two primary ways to beat an Offensive Team;
1. Play keep away. In order to slow down a potent Offense, you’ve gotta limit their opportunities with The Football. That can be accomplished by Running The Football. Jay Gruden needs to stick to his script from last week’s Win & Run that Rock right down the Raiders’ throats. Not only will that set a physical tone for the evening, but it also wears down the Oakland Defense while keeping the ball away from their Offense.
2. Beat Them Up. Playing fast & physical can work against their Offense. The big key is to get plenty of hits on Quarterback David Carr and beat him up! Those hits will take a toll on the young Passer and (more importantly) can disrupt his timing & accuracy. This is a big key.
- Win the Turnover battle. It is statistically proven that the team that Wins the Turnover battle in any ballgame
Prevails more than 3/4’s to the time. This is why Turnover Differential is considered the biggest statistic in Pro Football. It’s simple. Protect The Football & Take it away. That gives The Redskins the best chance to Win.
- Kirk Cousins needs to play aggressive. With all of the Offseason churn with The Offense, The Washington Offense has been uneven to start this year. Yes, that’s understandable. However, Cousins needs to jump start the Passing Game starting tonight. I want to see him go after those Big Plays that have been sorely lacking this year. Further, with all of the inexperience in the Receiver Corps, it is vital that he starts to get these young guys going. Pryor is a new addition. Doctson has yet to have any impact in a Regular Season game, and Crowder is a Playmaker ready to break out. I wanna see you get them going Kirk.
- Bring the fight to Oakland. What The Burgundy & Gold did so well last week was establish a physical tone to the ballgame, right form the outset. This team (any team) plays so much better when they are the physical aggressor. That is vital. NO, I don’t expect the Raiders to get pushed around. They’re an NFL Team too. But Washington cannot allow a Visiting team to Win the battle of aggression in their house. Let’s see The Redskins play this ballgame like they want the Win more. That ‘want to’ was missing in Week 1. That better not happen in two consecutive Home Games.
The bottom line here is that I expect The Washington Redskins to Win this evening. And this is a prime opportunity for Kirk Cousins to prove his worth to Redskins Park and the rest of the Football World.
To be a Contender, you gotta beat Contenders.
Go forth and beat them tonight boys.