While the New England Patriots offense and special teams have shown some signs of inconsistency early in the season, the defensive unit has not wavered one bit.
New England has allowed opponents just 243 yards per game this season and one offensive touchdown. The Patriots are approaching history and are one of the league’s elite defenses through just four games. But next up on the schedule is the struggling, winless Washington Redskins.
Washington’s offense has sputtered, to say the least, this season and is one of only five teams to average fewer than 300 yards of offense per game. Washington has taken 39 offensive penalties in four games with 10 turnovers (seven interceptions, and three fumbles).
The thing is, Washington hasn’t really had too much trouble through the air but on the ground instead. With running back Derrius Guice on injured reserve for the second-straight season, aging star Adrian Peterson has been left with the responsibility of carrying the running game again. So far, it hasn’t panned out with Washington averaging less than 50 rushing yards per game.
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Patriots Defense Matchup vs Washington
To really understand New England’s defensive dominance over Washington, you can only look back as far as the Bill Belichick era. Like in 2003, when the Patriots fell 20-17 at the Redskins before rattling off 21 consecutive victories, New England held Washington to 253 yards.
The Patriots’ key to victory against the Redskins has been limiting the time of possession. Even in defeat, the Redskins had just 26 minutes of possession.
The next time New England and Washington played was in 2007, the undefeated season, and marked one of the most thoroughly dominant performances in Patriots history. New England dispatched Washington 52-7 allowing only 224 yards and forcing four turnovers.
That 2007 performance is indicative of what the Patriots could do again on Sunday. Limiting the Redskins time of possession by forcing turnovers and short possessions. It’s what New England has done well all season and could easily do against what Belichick calls a “talented team.”
Should You Start Patriots Defense vs Washington?
This might be the easiest decision you make in fantasy all year. Not to knock the Redskins or anything, but their offensive line has been one of the worst in football this season. Now match that up with a New England pass rush that uses deception and misdirection in its disguised coverage packages, it’s a perfect storm.
It might not matter who starts at quarterback for Washington, they won’t have a lot of time to throw anyways. And with Redskins receivers struggling to get separation downfield, it won’t give the QB much of window.
As for Adrian Peterson running against the Patriots, he hasn’t exactly dominated against New England in his career, averaging just 59 yards per game two meetings with New England. And he hasn’t exactly looked like vintage AP this season either.
So yes, start the Patriots defense/special teams this week.