When it comes to the Redskins it’s all but impossible to predict what will happen next. Rex Grossman is always full of surprises, some good but most bad. The same thing can be said of Mark Sanchez. Both Quarterbacks have had just a tiny bit of trouble throwing the ball to, you know, the correct team.
Rex Grossman and his infamous alter-ego Turnover-saurus-REX has thus far thrown 10 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and has also fumbled 4 times this season alone.
Sanchez, on the other hand, has 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 7 fumbles.
When analyzed from a strictly statistical standpoint the two teams appear to be pretty evenly matched.
Washington averages 322.4 offensive yards per game while the Jets average 314.8. The Redskins average more passing yards per game; the Jets more rushing yards, and both teams are almost even on time of possession. But the Jets scoring average is substantially higher with 23.3 points per game, versus the Redskins 16.6.
On defense, the two teams are also squarely matched. The biggest variation is the percentage of third-down conversions allowed; Redskins allow 37.1% while the Jets allow only 31.5%.
Beyond the statistics there will be several important things to watch for during this game. On defense the Redskins employ at least five pass rushers 43% of the time. Jim Hasslet will have to get creative for the entire duration of the game, as we saw the lack of success the Bills had with the blitz against Sanchez in the fourth quarter last week. The absence of LaRon Landry could be a big hit to the defense despite him having been a non-factor in several of the Redskins victories this season.
Fortunately, inside linebacker London Fletcher is in the lineup against the Jets, despite having had limited participation in practice due to an ankle injury. Hopefully his speed will not be affected, as the Redskins will need him a lot in this game.
With LaDainian Tomlinson coming back after an injury and Shonn Greene looking to silence critics, the Jets running game could be a major factor.
After almost 3 years, Plaxico Burress has made a very underwhelming return to the NFL. He has yet to break 80 yards in a game and seemed to have had a rough start with his new team. However, in the past 5 games he has scored 5 touchdowns, including 3 against Chargers in week 7, and seems to finally be finding his stride. As we saw against the Chargers, 6’1” cornerback Antoine Cason was no match for the 6’5” Burress. DeAngelo Hall is only 5’10” and Josh Wilson is an inch shorter, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the receiver’s ability to make big plays.
Add Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes into the mix and Sanchez should have no shortage of targets on Sunday.
As for the Redskins offense there are a few key players to watch.
Kyle Shanahan faces a big quandary going into this game— how to account for Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, who have 7 interceptions between them this season. With Grossman in as quarterback, the offensive line will need to bring their A-game to minimize the opportunities for the cornerbacks to add on to that number.
Roy Helu had a big game last week and has been named the official starter. And with DE Mike DeVito out with a knee injury he has the potential to have another. Despite not putting up big numbers last week against the Seahawks, Santana Moss is another threat to the Jets on offense as he returns for his second game since being sidelined with a broken hand.
Fred Davis has become a crucial element of the Redskins offense, as both a blocker and tight end. It will be up to Jets safety Eric Smith to contain him, and up to Davis to not drop the ball.
Perhaps one of the most important factors of this game will be penalties. The Redskins need to capitalize on every opportunity they get and cannot afford to rack up penalties as they done in previous games. Both teams have players (and coaches) with a propensity for letting emotions drive them to say and do things that often have negative consequences. The Redskins need to maintain their composure (I’m lookin’ at you D. Hall) and play a clean, sharp game.
Either way, if last year’s preseason “game”, if you can even call it that, was any indicator, this should be a very interesting game.