Washington Redskins versus Tennessee Titans: An interconference battle to keep playoff hopes alive


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This season is on the line for both teams in this match up.  The Redskins are 7-7, eighth overall in the NFC.  At 8-6, the Titans are in a similiar situation, ranked eighth in the AFC.  Winning out is nearly paramount, and that might not be enough for either team.

The Titans come in ranked 22nd in fewest points allowed and near the bottom in points scored, at 27th in the NFL. However, they have been excellent at home, winners of five of six and come in a huge 10-point favorite.

The big line is probably more due to the troubles of the Redskins than the play of the Titans.  Washington is down to it's third and fourth quarterbacks in Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez following the injuries to Alex Smith and then Colt McCoy. They come into play 28th in scoring and tied for 13th in points allowed.

Offensively, the Titans will rely on a solid running game lead by Derrick Henry, who has 882 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging five yards an attempt.  Veteran running back Dion Lewis has 512 yards, however is averaging just 3.4 per carry.  Quarterback Marcus Mariota has scrambled away from defenders for 350 yards on 5.6 per attempt.

The Titans will need the running attack to slow down the Redskins pass rush. Ryan Kerrigan (11 sacks), Matt Ionnidis (7.5 sacks) and Jonathan Allen (7 sacks) lead a unit that has 40 sacks. If Mariota has time to throw, he'll look for primary targets Corey Davis and Lewis, who have 110 receptions and over 1100 yards. Mariota spreads the ball around nicely, as four other players have at least 20 receptions.

There's no surprise that the Redskins offense will be geared around Adrian Peterson, particularly being razor thin at quarterback.  Peterson is approaching 1000 yards, averaging 4.2 per carry with seven touchdowns. The running attack could be the Redskins key to victory, as the Titans are giving up 110 yards on the ground per game. However, Tennessee wont be fearing Washington's passing game and can stack the box against the run.

If the Redskins are forced to throw, Johnson will try to find Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson, who have combined for 93 receptions and over 1000 yards.  They key then will be to give Johnson time, meaning contending the Titans pass rush, lead by Jurrell Casey, who has seven sacks this season.

Putting it all together, the Redskins likely have only a slim chance playing a Tennessee team that is very tough at home. With severely limited options on offense, it's difficult to see the Redskins putting up a lot of points. The Titans will win the game and remain alive for the playoffs, while the Redskins will need a miracle in the final week of the season.

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