- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2012

1. Can the secondary slow down Atlanta’s high-powered passing game? Quarterback Matt Ryan is the NFL’s top-rated passer, and he was named offensive player of the month for September. Julio Jones and Roddy White comprise the best receiving duo in the league, not to mention future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.

2. If the Redskins commit to stopping the pass, can they also stop the run? Atlanta running back Michael Turner’s 4.7 yards-per-carry average is tied for eighth in the NFL among backs with at least 40 carries. Last week, the Redskins used two deep safeties in coverage more than in the first three games, leaving the front seven to stop the run. That worked, for the most part.

3. Can the Redskins establish the run? Atlanta surrenders 5.22 yards per rush, the second-worst average in the NFL. Second-year middle linebacker Akeem Dent is a first-year starter. Running back Alfred Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III should pile up yards and keep the Falcons’ offense off the field.

4. Has Billy Cundiff put last week’s misses behind him? Cundiff made all four of his field goal attempts in Week 1, but kickers can’t afford bad games in the NFL. After missing from 41 and 31 yards last week, and missing an ambitious 57-yarder at the end of the first half, Cundiff redeemed himself with the game-winner. The spotlight is on him, though.

5. Which defense will stand up? Atlanta has the third-highest scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 31.0 points per game. The Redskins rank fourth at 30.8. Only two games have a greater over/under than the 50 points oddsmakers assigned to this one. The Redskins’ defense is way better on third down (34.1 percent), though, than Atlanta’s (48).

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

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