NFL fans keen on defensive struggles should avoid Sunday's game pitting the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders against each other like the plague.
Oakland carries a 1-2 record into the contest, having beaten the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 after losing a close game in Indianapolis to start the season. But the Raiders were absolutely devastated on the defensive side of the ball last weekend against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Redskins shocked the NFC East last season, going 10-6 to win the divisional title and make it into the playoffs. Things haven't gone well thus far in 2013, however, as Washington is winless in three games.
But after the third-year quarterback cleared another hurdle in the NFL's concussion protocols on Friday, as noted by Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, head coach Dennis Allen told reporters Pryor would play on Sunday if he passed one final test on Saturday:
Allen said Terrelle Pryor has been cleared for contact. If he passes one more medical hurdle Saturday, he will play Sunday, Allen said— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 27, 2013
Washington features the league's worst defense in terms of yardage, and only the New York Giants have allowed more points per game. The Redskins aren't tackling anyone at the line of scrimmage, have played with poor discipline and can't cover anyone downfield.
This is good news for Pryor's fantasy football owners.
Robert Griffin III has been rusty—to say the least—in his return to action after suffering a devastating knee injury against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs last year.
He's struggled to get into a rhythm with his receivers early in games but has been racking up the yardage in garbage time. Combined with Washington's porous defense, by the time he has gotten into a groove the Redskins have already been put behind the eight ball.
His rust is bound to wear off, though, and the Raiders present the ideal opportunity for the second-year quarterback to rebound from his poor start. Oakland's secondary was a sieve on Monday Night Football in Denver, giving up huge plays in the passing game off of busted coverage.
These two young signal-callers—Pryor and Griffin III—represent the future of the NFL at the quarterback position. They'll both likely have huge games on Sunday in Oakland, thanks to the lack of talent available at the defensive back position for both clubs.
But they're not the only big-time playmakers on offense.
Darren McFadden has struggled to play with consistency since joining Oakland as a rookie out of Arkansas in 2008. Injuries have played a big part in his struggles, and he's been hampered by some bad offensive coordinators.
That said, McFadden is still one of the most exciting running backs to watch in the entire league when he's on his game.
Which running back will have the biggest game?
Washington has allowed 155 rushing yards per game this season, which is the second-worst total in the league. The only team worse at shutting down rushing attacks is Jacksonville, and McFadden broke out with a huge game in Week 2 against the Jaguars, totaling 129 rushing yards on just 19 carries.
Redskins second-year running back Alfred Morris won't be held in check either.
Thanks to Washington's defensive struggles, Morris has only carried the ball 40 times in three games. But he's been successful when called into duty with 225 yards and two touchdowns.
The Colts were able to run the ball effectively against Oakland in Week 1, and the Broncos did the same in Week 3. In those two games, the Raiders allowed 291 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 61 carries—good for 4.77 yards a carry.
Morris will get his opportunities to gash Oakland's suspect defense.
With exciting offensive playmakers but a distinct lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball, this upcoming contest sets up for an offensive shootout.
Which team will win?
Both young quarterbacks have a special knack for making jaw-dropping plays, and the highlight reel after the game will be loaded with defensive lapses.
Fans of sound defensive football will cringe early and often in this game, while fantasy football owners around the globe will give a shout for joy.
It may not be pretty, but it's sure going to be fun to watch.
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