San Francisco 49ers Primer
As I previously mentioned, this is a must win game for the Skins. Dropping to 2-3, in a division in which Philli is running away, could be disastrous for the upstart Redskins. The Giants are still winless and Dallas is 2-3 facing six games without their start RB Elliot. The Redskins have more overall talent than Shanahan’s 49er’s, but their young talent is undeniable starting with their defensive line. They boast “TheTwin Towers” (not the original Zo & Mutombo G-Town connection) in DE ArikArmstead and DT DeForest Buckner. The duos 6’7 length and wingspan is impressive. This will be my first matchup to watch vs the Redskins O-Line. Add in rookie DE Solomon Thomas and the Skins will have to game plan around the trio. The second matchup will be Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers secondary. Although they lack the play makers at corner, their safeties boast impressive size & speed. Their length definitely jumps out when they play their One Deep Safety package on defense and are interchangeable. Eric Reid (6’1 213) returns from injury and looks to force Cousins into some bad decisions, but he tends to be over aggressive in coverage, giving up ground to often. The second safety Jaquiski Tartt (6’1 220), who I previously wrote about in the B&G Draft Primer) is a future star. He can be dangerous when used in the box as a blitzer, but is still learning to play centerfield in the pros. I’ll mention a few more critical matchups that will determine who wins or loses this game below. Cousins vs 49ers Corners
This is a matchup in which Kirk Cousins should expose the 49ers inexperienced corners, early and often. Chris CooleyfromESPN 980 Radio mentioned how vulnerable the 49ers defense is, in particular #33Rashard Robinson. Robinson has giving up big plays all year and Kirk needs to go right at him. Jordan Reed states he’s feeling 100% after the bye and Jamison Crowder spent the bye getting his speed back. With the emergence of Vernon Davis, as well as Terrell Pryor & a heathy Josh Doctson, this could be a big day through the air for Cousins. I see Cousins having a modest 250 yards passing day because the run will be the game plan focus, but he’ll still throw for 3 TDs.
Perine vs 49ers Defense
Redskins DB’s vs Pierre Garçon
Redskins D-Line vs 49ers O-Line
Although the 49ers have been disappointing thus far in the season, they have a bright future under Shanahan once they get a franchise QB. The speculation of Cousins joining his former O-Coordinator in the Bay next year makes total sense. Cousins would be reunited with his former offensive coach and go to possession receiver Pierre Garçon. Along with San Fran’s run game & defense it could keep games close. Luckily for Redskins fans, it’s 2017 and we have Cousins for a minimum of 12 more games. The 49ers defense will keep them in this game with a low scoring 14-3 half, but the second half is when the Skins will explode offensively. The #1 advantage Washington has over San Francisco is depth, in particular depth on defense. I think the 6’7 boys will start to ware down m, with Gruden sticking with the run game well into the second half. Pounding Perine up the middle will weaken this defense, even only for modest gains. This will allow Cousins to do what he does best and go zone read/play action. As I previously mentioned in my last post, I think Gruden really needs to get WR TerrellPryor involved in some Wildcat formations. Pryor needs to be involved and there is no better way then getting creative, by putting the former QB under center for a few plays. The 49ers defensive game plan has been simplified by its coordinators due to their lack of depth. The 49ers recently released former Pro Bowl ILB Navarro Bowmen, which puts a strain on their already weak defensive cohesion. Although Bowmen was on the decline, they are hoping Alabama rookie Reuben Foster can pick up his slack. The rookie hasn’t played an NFL game since being drafted, so I expect the Redskins to run directly at Foster if he’s in the game. This will be a big day offensively, defensively and even special teams will get in on the party with a Jamison Crowder punt return for a touchdown.
45- 17 Redskins Improve to 3-2 **Stat Predictions***
QB Cousins 250 3 TD’s 1 rushingTD
WR Josh Doctson 118 yards receiving 1 TD
Perine & Brown Combine for 200+ rushing yards 1 TD’s
OLB Smith 2 sacks
OLB Kerrigan 1 sack, fumble recovery
DE John Allen 1 sack, fumble recovery
OLB Ryan Anderson 1 sack
Safety Montae Nicholson 1 INT