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Week 2 Thoughts and Observations

After an amazing and outright shocking performance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Sunday, Redskins fans aren’t quite sure how to react heading into their Week 2 matchup against the St. Louis Rams.

Will the Redskins continue to roll? Should fans prepare for a letdown? After all, the Rams have given the Redskins fits, winning three of their last five head-to-head contests despite winning a total of just 15 games since 2007.

As recent history has shown, it’s unknown what to expect from the Rams, and even the Redskins, when they play each other. That being said, here are some things to be cognizant of when 4:00 p.m. rolls around today.

1. Robert Griffin III doesn’t have to repeat dazzling Week 1 performance to be successful against the Rams. His elusiveness and ability to extend plays is something we haven’t seen from a Redskins quarterback. That alone is dazzling enough. Every week, defenses will be gunning for him and attempting to disrupt his rhythm. As long as he continues to keep his composure, he should be able to come out of the Edward Jones Dome with a win.

2. As Grant Paulsen wrote about earlier in the week, the Rams gave up 12 passes for 126 yards to the Detroit Lions’ tight ends last week. He also noted that the production from the tight ends were likely a result of paying extra attention to Calvin Johnson. With Pierre Garcon unlikely to play today due to a foot injury he suffered against the New Orleans Saints,  the pressure for the Rams secondary to shut down Redskins receivers will be alleviated.  That being said, continue to watch for Fred Davis to see if he makes an impact today after a modest Week 1 performance.

3. Expect the running game to be featured more prominently than last week (as if rushing the ball 43 times out of 71 offensive plays in Week 1 wasn’t enough). Alfred Morris carried the ball 28 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns in his pro debut. Look for him to surpass the 100-yard barrier this week. Why? Because of Garcon’s likely absence and St. Louis’ greatly improved starting cornerbacks. Brought  in during the offseason were Cortland Finnegan, a Jeff Fisher favorite from their time in Tennessee, and second round draft pick Janoris Jenkins. One of Finnegan’s biggest traits is his ability to annoy and get inside the heads of the receivers he faces. How do you combat that and the 10 tackles, the two passes defended and the 31-yard interception he returned for a touchdown last week? Utilize the run.

4. To go along with my Alfred Morris prediction, I expect Brandon Banks to break loose for a touchdown today, either through a punt or kick return. Just like with my Morris projection, I can very easily be wrong with this.

5. The Redskins lead the Rams 24-11-1 all-time in their series history. Washington has outscored St. Louis 852 to 654 in those 36 games.

6. Dating back to 1932, the Redskins are 41-36-3 all-time in Week 2 games. Here is the breakdown by decades: 1930′s (2-4-2), 1940′s (9-1), 1950′s (3-6-1), 1960′s (4-6), 1970′s (7-3), 1980′s (6-4), 1990′s (5-5), 2000′s (4-6), and 2010′s (1-1). Its interesting to see how the wins by decades correlates with their overall success during those time periods. And yes, I really did look all of that up.

Enjoy Week 2, everybody.

Photo by Manny Flores/Icon SMI
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