W2W4 New England Patriots vs Washington Redskins

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When the Patriots Run the Ball:

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This may be the game that the running game returns to New England’s game plan. The Redskins have allowed almost 900 yards rushing through seven games and teams have a yards per carry average of almost 5 per rush attempt. The Redskins started strong on defense holding Miami, St. Louis, the Giants, and Philadelphia to less than 100 yards on the ground before being gashed for 587 yards on the ground in their last three games.

The Redskins imported veteran run-stoppers Terrance Knighton, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Stephen Paea via free agency and inside linebackers Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson are solid run defenders. This unit should be more like the stout group of September rather than the unit which was repeated overpowered and out-of-position in October.

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  • Knighton was a late addition to the injury report and is out with a migraine. He is a huge loss for the struggling unit as he demands double-teams and can take over games. Backup nose tackle Kedric Golston–who has cracked double-digits in tackles for a season just once since 2010–is thrust into a starting role and creates a gaping hole in the Redskins run defense.

    Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    With the thunder and lighting duo of LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis in the backfield, the Patriots should be able to run the ball if they choose to do so. However, after barely attempting to run the ball in their first two games, the Patriots seemed to recommit and incorporate more attempts on the ground–particularly in the second half while with a lead.

    That plan was scrapped against the Jets in a close game and a stout running defense. Against Miami, Dion Lewis was clearly limited and primarily used in the passing game. Blount ran strong–particularly in the second half–and the Patriots may be running more if only to take pressure off the banged-up offensive line.


    Next: When the Patriots Pass the Ball