Gameday preview: Redskins vs. Raiders
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2005-11-19
Category: Washington Redskins News
Oakland Raiders (3-6) at Washington Redskins (5-4)

November 20th, 2005 at 1pm
FedEx Field
CBS Sports (Dick Enberg, Dan Dierdorf and Armen Keteyian)

It will be a homecoming of sorts this weekend when Norv Turner brings his underachieving Raiders team into Washington to face the team that hasn't seen the postseason since his seven year reign from 1994-2000. The Redskins last made the playoffs in 1999 and then during the 2000 season, Turner was fired. That firing was the start of a coaching carousel that saw the failed 'Spurrier Project' and ended with the return of Coach Joe Gibbs before the 2004 season.

Both the Redskins and Raiders come into the game following losses last week. The Redskins dropped a heartbreaking loss to Tampa Bay in a game that saw the defense give up big plays while the offense spotted the Bucs a short field on occasion with their four turnovers (2 INT and 2 fumbles). The Raiders were thumped by division rival Denver, by a score of 31-17. The loss was the second in a row for the Raiders.

The Redskins welcome the road weary Raiders into FedEx Field, a place that the Redskins have won five in a row dating back to last season. The Raiders, who have found the road to be rough, have lost 18 of their last 21 games away from home. Against the Redskins, the Raiders have won three of their last four games and hold a 6-3 advantage in the series with one of those wins coming in a Super Bowl that most Redskins fans would like to forget.

Washington, in part, lost their game against the Bucs because they were unable to avoid giving up big plays. With the Oakland offense, the Redskins will see a host of players capable of making a big play on every snap. The Raiders, who have the sixth ranked passing offense (249.2 YPG), will continue to look to Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry to power their offense. This season their running game has been more of an afterthought in some games despite having Jordan in the backfield. They average 85.3 yards per game (26th in NFL) on the ground. The Redskins will need to get pressure on quarterback Kerry Collins in order to slow the passing game down. Washington (295.3 YPG, 7th) has been unable to get consistent pressure from their defensive front without the use of blitz packages. Those blitzes however have made the secondary vulnerable to the big play and recently, Redskins opponents have been able to make them pay for it. Collins has enjoyed success against the Redskins on the road as he has tossed eight touchdowns against only one interception in his last three games in FedEx Field. The Redskins are still not healthy on their defensive line and they will need to get pressure from somewhere or Collins and company could make them pay for their blitzing.

The Raiders defense has been very inconsistent at times this season and has not shown the ability to shut down neither the run (116.2 YPG, 19th) nor the pass (218.6 YPG, 23rd). Their defense ranks 24th overall and will face a Redskins offense that put up some impressive stats last week against the second ranked defense in the league. The Redskins (aside from the Giants debacle) have been rolling offensively since the Cowboys game. They are in the top ten in the league rushing the ball with 126.7 yards per game and sit 15th in passing with 221.1 YPG. Quarterback Mark Brunell had one of his worst games last week when he threw two interceptions and fumbled both times he was sacked. Prior to the game, Brunell had thrown 2 interceptions all season. The passing attack seems to be getting better as TE/H-back Chris Cooley has become more of a weapon. Cooley ranks 4th in league among tight ends with 469 yards receiving on 41 catches and has shown that he can make the tough catch. He has to continue to work on holding onto the ball after the catch or he could see the side of Gibbs that players do not want to see. Santana Moss continues to catch seemingly everything that is thrown in his direction as enters the game needing only 65 yards to reach his 2nd career 1,000 yard receiving season. His 296 yards and 19 receptions on third down have him tied for second in the league in both categories. Of the 19 grabs on third down, 18 have gone for a first down. On the ground, the Redskins have one of the best combos in the league. Clinton Portis still carries the bulk of the load but Ladell Betts is becoming an excellent change of pace back in addition to his kick return skills. The Raiders will be hard pressed to shut down either part of the Redskins offense but if they are able to force a few turnovers, they could take advantage of a short field, much as Tampa Bay did last week.

The Redskins look to have the advantage in this game considering the Raiders defensive struggles thus far but they have heard this story before. They went into the game against the Giants, who at the time had the 31st ranked defense, and were shut down, as they were limited to less than 150 total yards. The Raiders have been able to post points all season and considering the Bucs were able to move the ball effectively through the air, the Redskins may have another shootout on their hands. If they do, the Raiders chances of an upset on the road increase with the weapons that Kerry Collins has at his disposal. The Redskins will need to force some turnovers, something that they have been unable to do this season (-11 turnover ratio). The Raiders have done a decent job of taking care of the ball as well as forcing turnovers this season.


Coach’s Clipboard:

- Redskins have not beaten an AFC team since they beat New England in 2003.
- This will be Norv Turner’s first career game against the Redskins.
- Coach Joe Gibbs is 2-3 against the Raiders.
- Last game between teams: 11/29/98. Redskins 29-19. QB Trent Green threw for 224 yards and 3 TD’s.
- Kerry Collins has won 5 of last 7 games against the Redskins.
- Collins is 4th ranked passer in 4th quarter with 95.5 rating.
- Redskins allow average of 19.6 yards on kickoffs (2nd best).

- Wingman

Key Player Match-Ups:

Casey Rabach vs. Ted Washington
By Bernie Marshall

With Washington being an inch taller and 50 lbs heavier, the smaller Casey Rabach (6-4 301lbs.) will have to use his quickness and cut blocking to help create holes for Portis. If Washington is able to hold off those blocks, Randy Thomas or Derrick Dockery will need to assist Rabach, if this happens it allows Washington’s teammates to clean up and make tackles.

Not only will Rabach have to keep big Washington’s 6-5 365 lbs. frame from clogging the running lanes but he’ll also have to prevent him from using all that mass to collapse the pocket. This will allow Brunell the opportunity to step up into the pocket when needed.

Advantage: Rabach

Nnamdi Asomugha v Santana Moss
By Scott Hurrey

With Charles Woodson out with a broken leg, third year corner Nnamdi Asomugha will be faced with the formidable task of covering the speedy Santana Moss. At 6'2", 210 pounds, Asomugha will definitely need to attack Moss at the line to disrupt the timing between Moss and Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. Look for Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan to use a lot of zone coverage to make up for the loss of Woodson. You can also expect to see free safety Stuart Schweigert assisting in coverage when in man-to-man. This should translate, not only in a big day for Moss, but the other receivers as well.

Advantage: Moss

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