The Atlanta Falcons (4-0) march into the nation’s capital this week to take on Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins (2-2) at FexEd Field in what should be one of the more fun games to watch in the NFL week 5 schedule.
The Falcons are coming off a last second win against the Carolina Panthers, in which Panthers QB Cam Newton (who’s skill set is very similar to RG3) racked up 86 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Redskins coaching staff will no doubt be looking at what worked for Carolina and seeing if they can’t duplicate it.
The Redskins have been no stranger to comebacks and last minute wins themselves this season, and have shown a resiliency not seen out of Washington teams in well over a decade.
This is going to be a strength-against-weakness match-up for these two teams, as Washington comes into this game ranked 3rd in total offense, and 29th in total defense, while Atlanta comes in ranked 15th in total offense and 16th in total defense. Games like this generally come down to who has the ball last, and who wins the turnover battle.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan is the highest rated passer (112.1) in the league currently, but his opponent in Sunday’s game, RG3, is the third highest rated (103.2), so both defenses are going to have to be on their A-game. Watch for both offenses to use the vertical pass game, and test out the secondary.
The big difference in this game may come down to special teams. The Redskins have struggled with their kicking game this season with veteran kicker Billy Cundiff already having missed 4 of his 10 field goal attempts, while Falcons kicker Matt Bryant has been perfect on both field goal and extra point attempts. If it comes down to a possible game-winning kick, edge goes to Atlanta.
The Falcons defense will have to play more like they did in the first three weeks to be able to contain Griffin. The unpredictable rookie has a knack for keeping plays alive and putting a lot of pressure on opposing defensive backs. Disguising coverages and using the so-called “amoeba defense” might be the best way to confuse the first-year QB, and come up with some turnovers.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who will no doubt have the job of spying on Griffin and trying to keep contain on the edge if he begins to scramble.
PREDICTION: Another nail-biter for the Falcons, and another game-winner for Matt Bryant. Falcons stay undefeated, and win 30-28