After a busy week and a quarterback change, Washington will play host to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at FedEx Field. After the demotion of Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen will take the reigns of the offense and Alex Smith will be active as the backup. That first part has dominated the headlines since Wednesday, however that second part is absolutely astonishing to fathom. Meanwhile the Rams come in with a 3-1 record and a stout defense. In their wins they have given up 15 ppg and in their one loss they gave up 35 points to the Buffalo Bills. Here are my three keys for Washington to pull the upset.
1. Possess the ball
Kyle Allen’s advantage is he knows Scott Turner’s offense. Hopefully that means with the full compliment of plays, this should keep the Rams’ defense off balance, and Washington can win the time of possession battle. If Washington can reach around 35 minutes of possession that can lead to the Washington upset. Part II of this that Allen cannot turn the ball over. Blocking Aaron Donald has to be number 1 on every play. Part of Allen’s issues last season in Carolina were turnovers and Allen must be better in this are if Washington is going to pull the upset.
2. Make Tackles
The defense has shown flashes of being a dominant unit but has one major flaw. Too many missed tackles at all levels of the field. Defensive lineman missing running backs, linebackers and safeties have been worse. The defense is 7th in yards which is great, 4th against the pass which is exceptional, but they are 22nd in points given up. If the tackling improves the defense can truly dominant and possibly win this game. It looks like Chase Young will be available to play. Landon Collins and Troy Apke need to step up against a solid offensive attack of the Rams.
3. Riverboat Ron
All the quarterback drama is familiar territory for Washington and their fans. Coach Rivera made a tough but bold decision to make the quarterback swap. What has gone unnoticed is Coach Rivera’s affect on the team in general. Washington committed only two penalties last week. It has been a long time since a Washington team only committed two penalties. That shows a better focus and execution in all three phases of the ball. Winning teams don’t beat themselves and on that front Coach Rivera has had an effect. If Washington can keep the penalties down then their chances of winning increases.
Before the season started I had this game as a loss. What helps Washington is a West Coast team playing an early game. In their loss the Buffalo Bills jumped out early on the Rams and that caused their downfall. If Allen and the offense can put some early points on the board it will be a game. However I think the offense plays better but has two turnovers and ultimately lose the game. Rams 27 Washington 17