Redskins vs. Falcons Preview of NFL Week Five Matchup

By Greg Bradshaw

The Washington Redskins return to Fed Ex Field to face the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Week Five contest is scheduled for October 7, 2012. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm Eastern time.

Washington is coming off a come from behind 24-22 Week Four road victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After building a big lead, and then relinquishing it, Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III got a chance to engineer a game winning drive.

He calmly led the Washington offense downfield, where placekicker Billy Cundiff kicked the game winning field goal. It was Griffin III’s first fourth quarter comeback of his young career.

In order for the Redskins to have a shot at defeating the Falcons, Griffin III will need to continue his stellar play under center.  The Week Four return of Washington left tackle Trent Williams and wide receiver Pierre Garcon gives the offensive unit a tremendous lift.


The Atlanta Falcons’ Week Four matchup with the Carolina Panthers was a back and forth affair. The Falcons were losing late in the game, needing a field goal to win and stay undefeated.

However, they had to start the game winning drive at their own one yard line. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw a 59 yard pass to wide receiver Roddy White. A few plays later, placekicker Matt Bryant kicked a game winning field goal, preserving the Falcons’ perfect record.

Atlanta is one of the league’s best teams, featuring the league’s top rated passer in Ryan. He has arguably the best pair of wide receivers in the league in White and second year receiver Julio Jones.

Ryan also has the seemingly ageless 36 year old tight end Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez is still playing at a high level, and shows no signs of slowing down. The Falcons also have featured running back Michael Turner anchoring Atlanta’s rushing attack.

Turner is a powerful runner who can either run over defenders between the tackles, or use his speed to go the distance on an 80 yard run.

On the defensive side of the ball, Washington won the turnover battle for the fourth straight week. Redskins’ cornerback DeAngelo Hall recorded an interception in Week Four, leading to a Redskins’ touchdown.

But the defense once again allowed another quarterback, Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman, to pass at will against them. It’s a disturbing trend that a better pass rush from Washington outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, as well as defensive linemen Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, and Jarvis Jenkins could remedy.

The Atlanta Falcons’ defense has no such problems. Falcons’ defensive end John Abraham is still playing at a high level, leading the team with three sacks on the season.

Atlanta’s defense, paced by free safety Thomas Decoud’s three interceptions, has proven to be opportunistic. This is reflected by their three interceptions of Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning in Atlanta’s Week Three victory over the Broncos.

Prediction: The Redskins have surprised many around the league with their efficiency on offense. However, they are facing an Atlanta Falcons’ offense that is superior to Washington in terms of experience and talent.

That means Griffin III and the Redskins’ offense will have to play near perfect football to keep up with the Falcons. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie quarterback. Ryan and the prolific Falcons’ offense will have a field day with a porous Washington defense, keeping its perfect record intact.

Final score: Falcons 37, Redskins 20.

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