Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins looks to throw a pass against the New Orleans Saints  at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins haven't started 2-0 on the road since 1999. But if everything goes according to plan and the more talented team comes out on top Sunday in St. Louis, that streak will come to an end.

But this is the NFL, where nothing's predictable and things often change dramatically between Week 1 and Week 2.

What Washington must do to win, offensive edition

The Redskins can't push too hard with Robert Griffin III, as tempting as that will be. This St. Louis pash rush is better than the Saints', so the key is to continue to work Evan Royster, Roy Helu and Alfred Morris in consistently while continuing to give RG3 lots of options in the flats.

What Washington must do to win, defensive edition

Make big plays. Things might not come as easy on offense this time, with an underrated defense having a chance to watch some legit tape on Griffin. As a result, the pressure will be on the Redskins' aggressive defense to take advantage of a bad, depleted offensive line and to force Sam Bradford to make mistakes.

How Washington can lose

If Griffin gets carried away and makes mistakes, especially with the pass protection still being a question mark, the Redskins could lose.

Five most important non-quarterbacks

Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, Perry Riley

Yeah, the entire starting linebacking corps and the man who is charged with protecting RG3's blind side are the keys. Williams is an obvious one, but Kerrigan and Orakpo will be relied upon to force those necessary mistakes while Fletcher and Riley will be responsible for containing Steven Jackson.

Injury analysis, Redskins edition

Pierre Garcon was a huge factor despite playing only eight snaps against the Saints, but he's a game-time decision with a foot injury. This is a biggie because Garcon is clearly RG3's favorite target and the team's top deep threat. The Washington receiving corps is deep, but the Rams have a relatively strong secondary. 

Brandon Meriweather is still out on defense, but DeJon Gomes did a great job in his stead last week.

Injury analysis, Rams edition

Left tackle Rodger Saffold is questionable, but he practiced fully to end the week. He'll likely be a game-time decision but we'll see how effective he is if he starts anyway. They'll also be without left guard Rokevious Watkins and center Scott Wells, which could be problematic for a line that gave up a league-high 55 sacks in 2011.

The key for the 'Skins will be exploiting that weak spot.

B/R NFC East Blog prediction

I do believe this will be a stiffer challenge than expected, but the defense has a chance to put on a show, and I trust Griffin to avoid mistakes, which might be all they need from him in St. Louis.

Redskins 21, Rams 16