The Denver Broncos will look to get back on course this week against the Washington Redskins. This is the Broncos’ final NFC East bout of the season. Can they make it 4-0 against the division?
Based on how the Redskins have played lately, the Broncos should take care of business if they play their game. As the Broncos dive into the Redskins today at practice, we thought we’d give you some insight into the team as well. That’s why we asked Riggo’s Rag editor Maurice Barksdale some questions about the Redskins such as if RG-III will be able to bounce back this season, what is to become of the Redskins’ secondary this week, and is the team’s special teams getting it together?
Let’s go Inside the Villains’ Venue with Maurice and Riggo’s Rag.
Predominantly Orange: Washington’s pass defense has struggled this season, and starting safeties Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty appear to be out this week. How will the Redskins try to slow Manning?
Riggo’s Rag: Meriweather will be on suspension, and if Doughty can’t go, the Redskins may be forced to start rookie Bacarri Rambo at safety, and he has primarily been on special teams. They more than likely will move a cornerback to safety, as both Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers are corners with safety experience. The Redskins defense has had serious problems with up-tempo offenses, and I think that will continue against the Broncos. But the only chance the Redskins have to slow down Peyton Manning is to get a good consistent pass rush on him, and try to force him into mistakes.
PO: Let’s talk RG-III. Will he bounce back after a rough start to the season after having knee surgery?
RR: RGIII is showing signs of bouncing back to his rookie form, as he had his best game of the season last week against the Bears. He passed for 298 yards, 2TD’s and rushed for 84 yards in the win. The hesitation to run and the uncertainty in the passing game he showed early on in the season seems to be all but gone. And Griffin has also discovered a new receiving threat in rookie TE Jordan Reed, who has emerged as RGIII’s favorite target the past few games. RGIII missed all of the preseason, and couldn’t participate in OTA’s due to the rehab of his knee injury. So he was very rusty to start the season, but he’s improved with each game.
PO: Have the special teams issues been fixed?
RR: The Redskins special teams issues are still shaky at best. They surrendered an 81 yard punt return TD to the Bears’ Devin Hester in week 7, after giving up two long returns against the Cowboys in week 6. So they will have to kick the ball away from the Broncos’ Trindon Holliday at every opportunity. The Redskins can’t afford to let Holliday score on returns, or to set up Peyton Manning with good field position. That would all but certainly contribute to a loss, considering how potent the Broncos offense is.
PO: Talk about the Redkins’ two running backs Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. What does each bring to the table?
RR: Morris and Helu are developing into a good 1-2 punch for the Redskins. Alfred Morris is another one of those late round picks at running back that Mike Shanahan seems to find, as I’m sure many Broncos fans can remember. Morris isn’t a burner, but what makes him special is he’s hard to bring down and gets a lot of his yards after contact. Roy Helu Jr. had a good rookie season in 2011, but missed all of 2012 due to injury, which allowed Morris time to emerge. Now healthy, Helu has become a nice change of pace to Morris on third downs, where he’s excelled as a receiver out of the backfield, and a scoring threat in the red zone.
PO: Finally, your prediction for this week?
RR: I predict the Redskins will use their running game to try to slow the game down, and limit the amount of times Peyton Manning can touch the football. I even think the Redskins defense will be better prepared to deal with an up-tempo offense, after struggling against them earlier in the season. But ultimately their defense is still not built to handle the kind of offense that Peyton Manning employs. So even though RGIII and the offense will score and move the ball on the Broncos, it won’t be enough to win. 38-28 Broncos.