- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2011


1. Can the Redskins score with New England? In a word, no. The Patriots have scored at least 31 points in each of their last four games. The Redskins haven’t scored more than 28 in a game this season, and now they’re without their leading receiver and starting left tackle. Good luck.

2. Will Washington be able to run the ball? Fred Davis’ suspension is a crushing blow to the passing game, but losing Trent Williams and him hurts the running game even more. Their ability to capture the edge makes the outside stretch runs work. Roy Helu’s available running lanes will be limited.

3. Which Rex will show up? Grossman’s 41.3 completion percentage last week was his second-worst since 2007. The worst? His 40.9 percent mark in the Philadelphia game in October — and he was benched in the fourth quarter of that game. He must be more accurate and make better reads in order to keep pace with the Patriots this week.

4. Can the Redskins pressure Tom Brady? New England has surrendered a sack on only 4.58 percent of its passes this season — the fourth-best rate in the NFL. The Redskins’ defense, however, ranks third in that category at 8.8 percent. Washington needs nose tackle Barry Cofield to push the pocket up the middle.

5. Can Washington match up with New England’s tight ends? Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have combined for 119 catches, 1,451 yards and 18 touchdowns. Gronkowski (6-6, 265) and Hernandez (6-1, 245) are matchup nightmares for linebackers. The Redskins need physical defenders who can cover, too. On a related note, safety LaRon Landry is fighting a groin injury.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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