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Redskins at Patriots

This game will go a long way toward determining whether the Washington Redskins can be considered a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Patriots have been on an unheard-of roll through the first seven weeks of the season and are averaging 39.9 points per game, but the Redskins rank third in the NFL in scoring defense at 14.7 points per game. This is about as close as we are going to get to an irresistible force (Patriots) going against an immovable object (Redskins). Something has to give in this one.

• Complete advance scouting report

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Redskins at Patriots

This game will go a long way toward determining whether the Washington Redskins can be considered a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Patriots have been on an unheard-of roll through the first seven weeks of the season and are averaging 39.9 points per game, but the Redskins rank third in the NFL in scoring defense at 14.7 points per game. This is about as close as we are going to get to an irresistible force (Patriots) going against an immovable object (Redskins). Something has to give in this one.

• Complete advance scouting report

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Why To Watch

This game will go a long way toward determining whether the Washington Redskins can be considered a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Patriots have been on an unheard-of roll through the first seven weeks of the season and are averaging 39.9 points per game, but the Redskins rank third in the NFL in scoring defense at 14.7 points per game. This is about as close as we are going to get to an irresistible force (Patriots) going against an immovable object (Redskins). Something has to give in this one.

When the Redskins have the ball

Rushing: The Redskins are in the middle of the Pack in rushing offense at 114.7 yards per game and they have struggled to an average of just 3.5 yards per carry over the last four games. Head coach Joe Gibbs is a firm believer in the ground game and will surely continue to focus on the run with FB Mike Sellers leading the way for RBs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. Portis' production has declined steadily since the season opener but Washington must have a ground game against the Patriots in order to keep the ball away from the explosive New England offense and avoid putting too much pressure on young Redskins QB Jason Campbell. The Patriots own the ninth-best run defense in the league at 92.7 yards per game, and while defensive coordinator Dean Pees will throw in the occasional interior stunt the Patriots don't add and extra defender to the box very often. For the most part they rely on their front seven to get the job done.

Passing: Campbell is still experiencing a lot of things for the first time as he tries to manage his team into the playoffs. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders tries to keep Campbell's throws to less than 25 attempts per game and the Redskins generally stay with the controlled passing game that attacks the underneath zones and try to work their way downfield. Because of that they don't generate many explosive plays and have only scored five times through the air. While the Redskins have several quality receivers they don't really have a go-to receiver, a guy who can come up with the difficult catch in crucial situations. Washington needs to spread the wealth so defenses can't focus on any single receiver.

The Patriots do a good job of keeping the ball in front of them thanks to their two and three-deep zones. Cornerback Asante Samuel is their best cover man and has come up with three interceptions so far this season. New England generates a quality pass rush without much of an all-out blitz package, thought the Patriots do come with the occasional well-timed stunt and have gotten to opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season. Most of their pressure comes from their three down linemen and two outside linebackers.

When the Patriots have the ball

Rushing: The Patriots ground game might not be dominating but it is still a quality rushing attack. They average 133.4 yards per game and run the ball just enough to force defenses to play honestly. All three of their running backs -- Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk -- are banged up, though Maroney returned to the lineup last week against Miami and ran for 31 yard on six carries. Morris is expected to miss at least two more weeks.

Look for the Patriots to emphasize the ground game this week more than they did against the Dolphins as the Redskins can be extremely difficult to throw the ball against. The Redskins are giving up just over 80 yards per game on the ground and have a good blend of veteran leadership with the likes of LB London Fletcher, DEs Phillip Daniels and Andre Carter, and excellent second-year players in DT Anthony Montgomery and WLB Rocky McIntosh. The Redskins' linebacker corps is not very big, though, and can struggle when they have to take on blockers in order to make plays, so the front four has to do a good job of controlling the New England offensive linemen and keeping them off the second level.

Passing: Patriots QB Tom Brady is on track to set several single-season passing records and has had a passer rating over 100 in each of his first seven games, and the signing of WR Wes Welker seems to have had as much of an impact as the acquisition of fellow WR Randy Moss, as Welker leads the team with 47 receptions. Moss is the big-play receiver but Welker is more of a go-to guy on a consistent basis. Brady has been able to tear apart secondaries at pretty much all levels with Moss and WR Donte' Stallworth being the downfield threats and Welker and tight end Benjamin Watson specializing in the underneath routes. Brady has 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions and the Patriots look pretty much unstoppable through the air right now. The Redskins do have the eighth-ranked pass defense in the NFL, though, at just 196.2 yards per game and have arguably the best pair of safeties in the league in Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry, and the entire secondary is fast and athletic. That allows defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to use a wide variety of run stunts and inside stunts knowing that the secondary can still cover what most teams have to offer>

Special Teams

The Redskins are fourth in the league in kickoff returns at 28.1 yards per return and backup RB Rock Cartwright handles that chore. Antwaan Randle El handles the punt returns and is averaging 6.8 yards per return while Welker returns punts for New England and is averaging 10.1 yards per return. Ellis Hobbs handles most of the kickoff returns for the Patriots and is averaging 29.9 yards. Chris Hanson is the Patriots' punter and he averages 40.3 yards per punt with a net average of 35.8 while Derrick Frost is the Redskins' punter and is averaging 42.1 yards per punt with a net average of 37.6. Kickers Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots and Shaun Suisham for the Redskins are both accurate but neither one has a huge leg. Overall, the advantage goes to the Patriots.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/scouting?gameId=271028017

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Why To Watch

This game will go a long way toward determining whether the Washington Redskins can be considered a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Patriots have been on an unheard-of roll through the first seven weeks of the season and are averaging 39.9 points per game, but the Redskins rank third in the NFL in scoring defense at 14.7 points per game. This is about as close as we are going to get to an irresistible force (Patriots) going against an immovable object (Redskins). Something has to give in this one.

When the Redskins have the ball

Rushing: The Redskins are in the middle of the Pack in rushing offense at 114.7 yards per game and they have struggled to an average of just 3.5 yards per carry over the last four games. Head coach Joe Gibbs is a firm believer in the ground game and will surely continue to focus on the run with FB Mike Sellers leading the way for RBs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. Portis' production has declined steadily since the season opener but Washington must have a ground game against the Patriots in order to keep the ball away from the explosive New England offense and avoid putting too much pressure on young Redskins QB Jason Campbell. The Patriots own the ninth-best run defense in the league at 92.7 yards per game, and while defensive coordinator Dean Pees will throw in the occasional interior stunt the Patriots don't add and extra defender to the box very often. For the most part they rely on their front seven to get the job done.

Passing: Campbell is still experiencing a lot of things for the first time as he tries to manage his team into the playoffs. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders tries to keep Campbell's throws to less than 25 attempts per game and the Redskins generally stay with the controlled passing game that attacks the underneath zones and try to work their way downfield. Because of that they don't generate many explosive plays and have only scored five times through the air. While the Redskins have several quality receivers they don't really have a go-to receiver, a guy who can come up with the difficult catch in crucial situations. Washington needs to spread the wealth so defenses can't focus on any single receiver.

The Patriots do a good job of keeping the ball in front of them thanks to their two and three-deep zones. Cornerback Asante Samuel is their best cover man and has come up with three interceptions so far this season. New England generates a quality pass rush without much of an all-out blitz package, thought the Patriots do come with the occasional well-timed stunt and have gotten to opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season. Most of their pressure comes from their three down linemen and two outside linebackers.

When the Patriots have the ball

Rushing: The Patriots ground game might not be dominating but it is still a quality rushing attack. They average 133.4 yards per game and run the ball just enough to force defenses to play honestly. All three of their running backs -- Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk -- are banged up, though Maroney returned to the lineup last week against Miami and ran for 31 yard on six carries. Morris is expected to miss at least two more weeks.

Look for the Patriots to emphasize the ground game this week more than they did against the Dolphins as the Redskins can be extremely difficult to throw the ball against. The Redskins are giving up just over 80 yards per game on the ground and have a good blend of veteran leadership with the likes of LB London Fletcher, DEs Phillip Daniels and Andre Carter, and excellent second-year players in DT Anthony Montgomery and WLB Rocky McIntosh. The Redskins' linebacker corps is not very big, though, and can struggle when they have to take on blockers in order to make plays, so the front four has to do a good job of controlling the New England offensive linemen and keeping them off the second level.

Passing: Patriots QB Tom Brady is on track to set several single-season passing records and has had a passer rating over 100 in each of his first seven games, and the signing of WR Wes Welker seems to have had as much of an impact as the acquisition of fellow WR Randy Moss, as Welker leads the team with 47 receptions. Moss is the big-play receiver but Welker is more of a go-to guy on a consistent basis. Brady has been able to tear apart secondaries at pretty much all levels with Moss and WR Donte' Stallworth being the downfield threats and Welker and tight end Benjamin Watson specializing in the underneath routes. Brady has 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions and the Patriots look pretty much unstoppable through the air right now. The Redskins do have the eighth-ranked pass defense in the NFL, though, at just 196.2 yards per game and have arguably the best pair of safeties in the league in Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry, and the entire secondary is fast and athletic. That allows defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to use a wide variety of run stunts and inside stunts knowing that the secondary can still cover what most teams have to offer>

Special Teams

The Redskins are fourth in the league in kickoff returns at 28.1 yards per return and backup RB Rock Cartwright handles that chore. Antwaan Randle El handles the punt returns and is averaging 6.8 yards per return while Welker returns punts for New England and is averaging 10.1 yards per return. Ellis Hobbs handles most of the kickoff returns for the Patriots and is averaging 29.9 yards. Chris Hanson is the Patriots' punter and he averages 40.3 yards per punt with a net average of 35.8 while Derrick Frost is the Redskins' punter and is averaging 42.1 yards per punt with a net average of 37.6. Kickers Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots and Shaun Suisham for the Redskins are both accurate but neither one has a huge leg. Overall, the advantage goes to the Patriots.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/scouting?gameId=271028017

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Special Teams

The Redskins are fourth in the league in kickoff returns at 28.1 yards per return and backup RB Rock Cartwright handles that chore. Antwaan Randle El handles the punt returns and is averaging 6.8 yards per return while Welker returns punts for New England and is averaging 10.1 yards per return. Ellis Hobbs handles most of the kickoff returns for the Patriots and is averaging 29.9 yards. Chris Hanson is the Patriots' punter and he averages 40.3 yards per punt with a net average of 35.8 while Derrick Frost is the Redskins' punter and is averaging 42.1 yards per punt with a net average of 37.6. Kickers Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots and Shaun Suisham for the Redskins are both accurate but neither one has a huge leg. Overall, the advantage goes to the Patriots.

I may be wrong, but from reading this I get that the special teams are dead even.the extra yards/return of the Pats is cancelled out by the extra yards/punt of Frost. Is there really a need to label the Pats as having the edge? Would it hurt to say it is a push?
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Special Teams

The Redskins are fourth in the league in kickoff returns at 28.1 yards per return and backup RB Rock Cartwright handles that chore. Antwaan Randle El handles the punt returns and is averaging 6.8 yards per return while Welker returns punts for New England and is averaging 10.1 yards per return. Ellis Hobbs handles most of the kickoff returns for the Patriots and is averaging 29.9 yards. Chris Hanson is the Patriots' punter and he averages 40.3 yards per punt with a net average of 35.8 while Derrick Frost is the Redskins' punter and is averaging 42.1 yards per punt with a net average of 37.6. Kickers Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots and Shaun Suisham for the Redskins are both accurate but neither one has a huge leg. Overall, the advantage goes to the Patriots.

I may be wrong, but from reading this I get that the special teams are dead even.the extra yards/return of the Pats is cancelled out by the extra yards/punt of Frost. Is there really a need to label the Pats as having the edge? Would it hurt to say it is a push?
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