The New England Patriots head to FedEx Field to play the Washington Redskins in this Week 5 clash. New England heads into this game with a perfect 4-0 record after escaping Buffalo with a 16-10 win over the Bills. On the flip side the Redskins have struggled mightily so far and are still winless following a loss to the New York Giants. The Patriots will still need to be on their game this week as the Redskins aren’t quite as weak as their record may indicate.
New England Patriots Week 5 Preview: A Showdown in Washington
Sunday’s game is following news that shocked the Patriots organization and fans. Longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve Wednesday leaving an unknown at the kicker position for this Sunday. The team did bring several kickers in to work out including veterans Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath. Regardless of who’s kicking against Washington it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the outcome of the game.
How Will Tom Brady and the Offense Respond?
Last week was tough sailing for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. They were able to put up just one offensive touchdown against the Bills. This can easily be chalked up to the fact that Buffalo has a top-five defense. Despite their struggles in Week 4 they should have a bounce back week against Washington, especially Brady, who looked as bad as he’s ever looked against the Bills. Washington comes into the game ranked 18th in pass defense and 29th against the run according to ESPN. The Patriots should be able to move the ball much more effectively this week taking the pressure off to what this point, has been a historically good defense.
Being able to get the ball moving on the ground will be important for New England this week. They haven’t been able to get too much going on the ground, particularly last week. It isn’t the end of the world, but it makes life a little harder for Brady in the sense that defenses can begin to anticipate the pass. With that being said the Redskins don’t have the depth in the secondary to take away more than one Patriots receiver at a time. In addition to this, Washington doesn’t have enough upfront to really control the running game so New England should be able to get what they want on offense this week.
Devin McCourty Looks to Continue His Dominance
Patriots safety Devin McCourty will look to continue his dominant run this week. For almost a decade he has anchored the New England secondary, and this year has been no different. McCourty has recorded four interceptions through four games this year. He currently leads the league in that category, and in Week 5 he’ll look to keep it rolling.
Washington has yet to disclose who is going to start under center for them this week. Rookie Dwayne Haskins came in for starter Case Keenum against the Giants in Week 4. However, this didn’t go as planned when Haskins threw a pick six. Redskins coach Jay Gruden told the media he didn’t yet know who was going to start, likely some gamesmanship on his part. As always New England will prep for both Redskins quarterbacks. Neither Keenum nor Haskins poses a major threat to the Patriots. Rookies have a terrible track record against the Patriots, and McCourty should be able to capitalize on that this week.
Can The Patriots Move to 5-0?
At first glance this matchup looks like a slam dunk for the Patriots. In many ways it is, but this is also a classic “trap game”. Coming off of a tough win and boasting a 4-0 record should have the Patriots feeling pretty good. Take that coupled with a seemingly easy opponent and you have a recipe for a stunning loss. However, with the way New England prepares, it minimizes the chance of the team overlooking an opponent. It is something to watch out for, especially early on in the game, but it likely won’t factor into the end result. The close call in Buffalo last week should light a fire under the team and if anything leads to a much improved performance against the Redskins.
The Patriots will take on the Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday. The game will kickoff at 1:00pm ET on CBS.