Colts vs. Redskins
The Redskins have a simple goal - run RB Stephen Davis into the ground . . . well, artificial turf. Washington hopes to repeat its Arizona gameplan and run 40-plus times to control the clock and keep its own defense off the field. This could be the week TE Stephen Alexander grabs a few passes.
After allowing 53 yards to Arizona and 31 yards to Detroit the past two weeks, the Redskins again see a real runner in Colts RB Edgerrin James. Now let's see if they're really better or just been stopping bums. Can CB Champ Bailey handle Colts WR Marvin Harrison one-on-one? Can the linebackers fill the running lanes.
Covering kickoffs is like driving on a winding single-lane mountain road without guardrails - stray out of the lane and it's a killer. The Redskins coverage teams have been hit-and-miss all season. P Matt Turk seems back in form with a 40.7 yard average. K Brett Conway didn't attempt a field goal last week for the first time this season.
Will owner Dan Snyder give more pregame pep talks? Does the Gipper's name come up? Coach Norv Turner is trying to stay sane among the madness for now. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has salvaged his reputation before the coming offseason pink slip.
QB Brad Johnson's 88.3 pass rating is the highest of any opposing passer facing the Colts this season. Let's see what Indianapolis can do against a real quarterback that also has a running game. Redskins haven't lost to Colts since 1990.
Out: G Keith Sims (knee). Probable: TE Stephen Alexander (hip); WR Albert Connell (shoulder); TE James Jenkins (shoulder); CB Mark McMillian (chest/ribs); WR Michael Westbrook (wrist).
RB Stephen Davis comes off a career-best 189 yards on 37 carries with 1 touchdown versus Arizona on Dec. 12. He'll probably drop to 20-25 carries against the Colts, but needs only 19 yards to break Terry Allen's single-season team record of 1,353 yards.
Now the Redskins know how opposing defenses have felt all season. The Colts have a standout passer, running back and receiver. There are no weaknesses. RB Edgerrin James is only 24 yards behind Redskins RB Stephen Davis (1,335) for the NFL lead. QB Peyton Manning is better than father Archie.
Colts are 13th against the run and 20th versus the pass, and have been beaten by the deep ball the past two weeks for 692 yards passing. CB Jeff Burris versus Redskins WR Michael Westbrook is the key downfield matchup while DE Chad Bratzke against LT Andy Heck is critical inside. …