Ever since Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury and Tom Brady emerged on the scene the Patriots have been the class of the NFL. They have down it not just by having one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but also by mixing in talented by high risk players with a steady flow of high character and work ethic football players. It is a method where the big name players like Randy Moss or Albert Haynesworth aren’t the focus or the focal point for a season.
Tom Brady is the face of the Patriots and over the last few seasons he has been one of the most consistently great quarterbacks the NFL has seen. In 2011 Tom Brady has been just as good as expected passing for 3916 yards, 30 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, and 66.7 percent of his passes completed. All of this has added up to the Patriots having the second best passing offense in the NFL in both yards a game and touchdowns.
The Patriots are not without their weaknesses. As good as they are at passing the ball they rank 21st in the NFL in rushing averaging 107.3 yards a game, and while the Patriots are not a running team they have still run the ball for the 15th most attempts in the NFL and rank 21st on yards per attempt with 4.0.
If the Redskins want to turn the Patriots into a running team they are going to have to get in the backfield and force Tom Brady to get rid of the ball before the routes have fully developed. That is no easy task and if a blitz is picked up then Brady will have no trouble finding the open receiver for a big game against a Redskins secondary that has looked lost at times. The only way the Redskins have of turning the Patriots into a running team is to start losing big and hop Bill Belichick shows mercy and starts calling for more running plays.
The rushing offense is not the only area of weakness the Redskins can try and exploit. The Patriots have the worst passing defense in the NFL having allowed 310.0 yards a game. They have been able to limit opponents to 18 touchdowns while picking the ball off 17 times, and maybe the reason they give up so many yards is because they put so many teams into a deep hole they have to try and pass their way out of. Either way having the worst passing defense in the NFL is a weakness, but with Fred Davis and Trent Williams out due to suspension it might not be one the Redskins can take advantage of.
Running the ball against the Patriots has not been easy this season as they rank 10th in yards allowed per game with 102.1. Further adding the the theory that the Patriots have such bad numbers against the pass because they put other teams down early is the fact that opponents have attempted running the ball against the Patriots 292 times or the 8th fewest attempts in the NFL.
The only way the Redskins win this one is if the Patriots have a bad day. Good and even great players do have bad games. It is rare, and consistency is the difference between a player that is great and one that is average. If Rex Grossman could consistently complete those long passes he likes to throw and consistently not turn the ball over then he would be a good quarterback, but he can’t, and he isn’t.
The Redskins have to keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. The key to winning for the Redskins is going to be to long sustained drives on offense that result in scores. Roy Helu is going to be key. One of the Patriots few weaknesses is the 4.2 yards an attempt they allow against the run. The Redskins need to run the ball and stick with the run if they hope to have a chance. Rex Grossman is not going to win a shootout against Tom Brady, and the Redskins don’t have the type of passing attack that can be counted on to methodically march down the field.
This is sports and anything can happen, and while fans should hope for an upset it isn’t something that can be expected. The Patriots are not a team that overlooks opponents, and if the Redskins offense falls into its typical lull Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will take advantage. And if Rex Grossman turns the ball over like he can this game could get real ugly.