Adrian Peterson accounts for less than 70 total yards
Adrian Peterson has revitalized his career as a 33-year old in Washington. Somehow, he is still one of the best in the business at carrying the football, rushing for nearly 600 yards in only 7 games, despite joining the team on short notice. The Falcons’ struggles against running backs this season has been well-documented; however, I wouldn’t be too excited for this matchup if I was a Peterson fantasy owner.
When Grady Jarrett is on the field, the Falcons have done a fantastic job at clogging up the middle and making it tough for running backs to get anything on the ground. Where running backs have still been able to find success is in the passing game. Peterson has never been one to catch the ball ten times out of the backfield. In fact, he only has nine receptions all season, which should actually be considered quite a bit for him at this point in his career. The Redskins will find a way to move the ball against the Atlanta defense, but it won’t be through Peterson.
The Falcons have trouble reaching the 20-point mark
The Falcons haven’t had a lot of opportunities on the road. Their trip to Washington will be the third one all season. The other two took place in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and did not treat the Falcons offense very well. The high-powered attack combined for a measly 29 points in their two games in Pennsylvania, and they could very well run into the same problems on Sunday.
Like the Steelers and the Eagles, the Redskins have a very strong front seven that is nearly impossible to run on and can get after the passer. The Falcons haven’t really needed the run to get going offensively in 2018, but they are going to have to keep Matt Ryan clean if they want to score 20 points, something that has not happened consistently enough this season. It shouldn’t take much more than 20 to win this game, but Ryan and the offensive line are going to have to be at the top of their game to make that happen.
Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley step up big
Outside of their really solid front seven, the Redskins are a bit of a mixed bag in the secondary. They have the likes of D.J. Swearinger at the strong safety spot, one of the most feared hitters in the league and also Pro Football Focus’s top safety after eight weeks of the season. They also feature Josh Norman, who might not be lock-down like he once was, but is still one of the league’s top corners. You have to figure that at least one of these guys, if not both, are going to have their eyes peeled to Julio Jones.
This should leave Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley plenty of room to operate all game. Greg Stroman has been an up-and-down player across from Norman, and Montae Nicholson has seen a severe drop off from his performance last season. That’s probably why the Redskins went out and traded for Haha Clinton-Dix prior to the deadline. Clinton-Dix will be a major addition to this secondary, but might not be at the top of his game just a few days after being traded. Providing that Matt Ryan will have enough time to throw, these two guys should be in for quite a stat line.