1. Will Washington’s secondary match Pittsburgh’s fast receivers? The Redskins’ lack of speed, especially at safety, is a major reason why they have given up so many big plays this season. Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace will test the Redskins vertically.
2. Can the Redskins survive without London Fletcher? The NFL’s ironman might miss the game because of head and hamstring injuries. He has started every game since joining the Redskins in 2007. He makes the calls and aligns the defense at the line of scrimmage, making him Washington’s most relied-upon defender. Lorenzo Alexander would replace him.
3. Can the Redskins’ offense exploit a speed advantage? Pittsburgh’s 11 projected defensive starters average 8.5 years of NFL experience. So, yeah, they’re a bit old. The Steelers rank 19th in the NFL in yards per carry. Washington’s offensive linemen like playing against a 3-4 defense because it’s easier for them to cut defensive linemen who are running laterally.
4. How good will Robert Griffin III’s decision-making be against a vaunted Steelers defense? Pittsburgh’s defense ranks second in total yards per game, and they are 13-1 against rookie quarterbacks under longtime coordinator Dick LeBeau. And Griffin likely won’t have wide receiver Pierre Garcon after losing tight end Fred Davis for the season last week.
5. Can Washington maintain its focus while staring at Pittsburgh’s outrageous throwback uniforms? No, the Redskins aren’t running around the field Sunday with a bunch of bumblebees. Those are the Steelers in replica 1934 uniforms. The jerseys are horizontally striped black and gold with beige number plates stitched on like patches. There’s a reason the Steelers left them in the past.
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