The Washington Redskins‘ defense is about as bad as at this time last year, before turning things up a notch from miserable to survivable for their wild rally to the postseason. That switch may have flipped Sunday as the Washington (3-5) held off the red-hot San Diego Chargers 30-24 in overtime Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings (1-7) final-minute 27-23 collapse against the Dallas Cowboys sets up a must-win trip to the land of a thousand lakes for all involved.
NFL Week 10 Matchup, Game Time and TV Info: Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (8:25 p.m. ET Thursday on NFL Network)
Predicted Point Spread: Redskins by 2.5 (Early spread: Redskins by 2)
However, Washington got much more from Robert Griffin III and the run game up to this point throughout the 2012 campaign. It’s not for poor play on Alfred Morris‘ part either. He’s topped 5 yards per carry in multiple contests this year but the Redskins seem to get away from the run more often — down from No. 1 in 2012 to No. 6 heading into today — with Morris topping 20 runs in a game for the first time in 2013 after doing so 10 times his rookie season.
Minnesota has found that Christian Ponder actually presents a major upgrade over Matt Cassel or a playbook-limited Josh Freeman. That’s not to say Ponder is one of the league’s top 20 quarterbacks (or even 30?) but weapons like Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings suddenly aren’t completely squandered. That said, both Ponder and this Vikes defense can become atrocious at any moment.
Key Matchup: Jared Allen vs. Trent Williams
Williams received his first merciless butt-whooping in a long time against the Denver Broncos and will face another major test in the veteran sack master manning the right edge for Minnesota’s d-line. Williams has made a case for being the league’s best young left tackle over the past year and will look to put the undressing by Von Miller and Co. — seven pressures allowed including two sacks — further in the rearview mirror.