Previewing The Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings NFL Week 10
The Minnesota Vikings are coming to town to take on the Washington Redskins. Both teams are in critical need of a win.
After a week off from football, the Washington Redskins are returning to action. In Week 10, they will return to the United States to take on the Minnesota Vikings at home.
Coming into the game, the Redskins sit at 4-3-1. That is good for third in the NFC East, but it also puts them firmly in the Wild Card picture. By virtue of their tie, they are ahead of many 4-4 teams for the No. 6 seed. That could end up lasting, but they need to keep winning to have a chance.
Meanwhile, the Vikings check in with a 5-3 record. However, they started the year 5-0 before losing three straight. They are in desperate need of a win in order to keep pace in the hyper competitive NFC North.
With all of that said, here is an in-depth look at what to expect when these two teams meet on Sunday afternoon.
Redskins Pass Game vs. Vikings Defense
This game is going to be a huge test overall for the Redskins offense. The Vikings have the league’s best scoring defense and rank in the top 8 in both pass and run defense. They have a unit that is full of good players, and their secondary is no exception. The team has one of the best No. 1 corners in the league in Xavier Rhodes, and he will have a good chance to lock down one of the top receivers for the Redskins.
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Aside from Rhodes, Terence Newman may be able to put some strong coverage on Pierre Garcon, who he figures to play against for most of the game. The Vikings have a great amount of depth as well, so it is going to be difficult for the Redskins to get much going.
That said, Kirk Cousins is definitely capable of putting together a good enough performance against the Vikings. The Vikings have allowed an average of 21 points over their last three games, all losses, so the Skins may be taking them on at a good time. Granted, they have limited opposing quarterbacks in those games but they have still found ways to score points.
In this game, I expect Cousins to rely heavily on his tight ends. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis have the best chance of getting open against the safeties. Washington should look to run a lot of two tight end looks, as they will be able to get some mismatches if they do that. The team is facing an uphill battle this week, but they should be able to stay competitive.
Redskins Rush Game vs. Vikings Defense
This is the area that the Redskins need to establish themselves in if they want a chance to beat the Vikings. When the Vikings took on the Chicago Bears two weeks ago, they allowed a huge game to rookie back Jordan Howard. Howard totaled 153 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The Redskins will need their trio of backs to have a similar performance to have a shot at winning.
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The Redskins are likely to use a committee approach on Sunday where Jay Gruden may stick with the hot hand. Robert Kelley figures to get the start after a solid performance prior to the bye week, but Matt Jones will likely get some carries too. That is, of course, if he is healthy. Meanwhile, Chris Thompson will continue to be mixed in as a change of pace and third down back.
I actually think that Jones will make a comeback against this Vikings team. He has to be motivated after losing the starting job, so he could reclaim it with a strong performance this week. His combination of size, physicality, and speed may give him at least a chance against the Minnesota defense.
Speaking of Minnesota, they have a couple of really strong tackles who will help stop the run. Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd are one of the best duos in the business, and they should lighten the load on the talented linebacker corps. This is another uphill battle for the Redskins, but all they need is for one back to get some momentum. Then, they will have a chance.
Vikings Pass Game vs. Redskins Defense
At the moment, the Vikings offense is reeling. The team’s offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, abruptly re-signed following the Monday night loss to the Bears, but the team still had issues in Week 10. New coordinatior Pat Shurmur helped Sam Bradford a bit, but he is still struggling to make many big plays.
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On Sunday, it may be even harder for Bradford to get going. Redskins star cornerback Josh Norman figures to cover reception machine Stefon Diggs for most of the game. That will take away Bradford’s security blanket and force him to throw to other receivers. Realistically, Kyle Rudolph and Cordarrelle Patterson will be his top targets. That is not a recipe for success.
The pass rushers for the Redskins also have to be licking their chops for this matchup. The Vikings are missing their top two offensive tackles, and the line has struggled as a result. Ryan Kerrigan could have a huge day and add some more sacks to his season total. It would be a major disappointment if the Redskins were unable to contain Bradford.
Vikings Run Game vs. Redskins Defense
Coming into this game, the Redskins are ranked 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. The Vikings are ranked 31st in rushing yards. Something is going to have to give in this matchup, and I think it may end up being the Washington defense.
The Vikings have some talent at the running back position. Jerick McKinnon has flashed at times during his NFL career. However, he has been dealing with an injury over the course of the season, so that may be taking a toll on him. Aside from him, the team has plodder Matt Asiata and recently added change of pace back Ronnie Hillman. The two can break some runs, but they are nothing special.
Meanwhile, the Redskins defensive line is not faring well this year. They lack talent across the line, as Chris Baker and Ziggy Hood are the only above average players there. They could have issues with the stable of backs that the Vikings have. If Minnesota can figure out who has the hot hand, they could rack up some yardage.
This matchup has the potential to be the decisive factor in this contest. Whichever team is able to execute in this area will likely emerge victorious at the end of the day.
Final Score Prediction
Overall, I think that this is going to be a tightly fought defensive battle. The Vikings do not have a great offense right now while the Redskins will deal with numerous unfavorable matchups throughout the day when they have the ball. That is not a recipe for success.
When it is all said and done, I think that the Vikings will come away victorious in this one. They simply have too much defensive talent and are in desperate need of a win to stay afloat. Granted, the Redskins have had a lot of time to prepare for the Vikings, but I am just not sure that they have the offensive ability to get the job done.