By Matthew Asher
Before the season started, big things were expected of both the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. Both teams won their respective divisions in 2012 and were considered among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl. This year is different as this Week 14 matchup features two teams with a combined six wins between them. Still, if Atlanta wants to show that they are not phoning it in the next three weeks, they have to beat Washington.
Redskins on Offense
Washington’s offense is puzzling. They do a great job of getting a lot of yards each game, ranking in the top 10 in both total offense and rushing yards, but have the 10th worst scoring team in the league.
The ‘Skins passing attack is pretty average. The 232.4 yards through the air rank them 17th in the league.
Anytime you talk about the Washington Redskins offense, quarterback Robert Griffin III always comes to mind. RG3 has completed 274 of 456 passing attempts for 3,203 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for an average quarterback rating of 82.2. Griffin has also been sacked 38 times, the fifth most in the league, for a total loss of 274 yards.
The running game for Washington averages 143.8 yards per game. The workhorse for the ‘Skins this season has once again been running back Alfred Morris. He has run the ball 218 times for 1,027 yards and six touchdowns. Unlike last season, Griffin hasn’t had as much success running the ball as he’s attempted just 86 rushes for 489 yards and no touchdowns.
One of the main problems with Washington’s passing attack is that they are way too predictable. Pierre Garcon has more than double the amount of receiving yards and almost double the number of receptions than the next closest player on the team. He leads everyone with 89 catches for 1,017 yards but just three touchdowns. Jordan Reed is second to Garcon in both receptions with 45 and receiving yards at 499. He does have three receiving touchdowns like Garcon. The third leading receiver is Leonard Hankerson with 30 catches, 375 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
Resdkins on Defense
The main reason the Redskins have only won three games this season is because their defense is dreadful. Their defense gives up a league-leading 31.3 points every game and the other stats don’t even look good by comparison.
Washington surrenders 372 yards of total offense with 256.7 through the air and 115.3 on the ground. Those are all rankings in the lower half of the league at 22nd, 27th and 18th, respectively.
They’ve done an okay job with turnovers as they are currently at a negative-three in that department. As a team, they’ve recorded 12 interceptions and have returned four of them for touchdowns. DeAngelo Hall leads the team with three interceptions and two of them have gone for touchdowns.
As far as pass rushing goes, Washington is near the bottom of the league as they’ve only recorded 30 sacks. Brian Orakpo leads the team with 8.5 sacks and Ryan Kerrigan follows closely with 6.5 sacks but he’s also forced three fumbles.
Atlanta and Washington are basically playing for the 2014 NFL Draft seeding. The question is if either team has enough pride to still try to win this game as if their playoff hopes depended on it. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST. #RiseUp
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Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.