After posting perhaps their best offensive performance in Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings, what's there to expect from Alfred Morris and the Washington Redskins offense in their Week 11 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles?
You may have heard that everything starts and ends with the quarterback in the NFL. But for Washington to keep its playoff hopes alive, the Redskins offense will have to revolve around Morris against Philadelphia.
Still, while these numbers may entice Washington to attack Philadelphia via the air, the Redskins' Week 1 loss at the hands of the Eagles should put a stop to this line of thinking.
Griffin aired it out 49 times in that contest and racked up 329 passing yards in the process. In contrast, the Redskins only toted the ball on the ground 18 times. Do you see the problem there?
If not, then the Redskins' drive summary, via ESPN.com, should illuminate the issue at hand just fine:
Washington's defense is bad already. But give them less than two minutes of rest, like the Redskins offense did on five of its first six drives, and it's no wonder that the Eagles surpassed their season average of 25.2 points in the first half!
In postgame comments to the Associated Press, Eagles center Jason Kelce reiterated how spent the Washington defense was as a result of this.
"The Redskins were like, 'Next time we play you guys, you need to slow it down a bit,'" Kelce said.
Consider Morris an elixir to this very problem.
Morris has gotten more than 20 carries in each of Washington's last two games.
His carries haven't just been lip service, either. Morris has averaged more than five yards per carry in that time span. This is in line with his season average of 5.2 yards per carry.
With numbers like that, a heavy dosage from Morris should be the perfect remedy to what ailed Washington in its first matchup with Philadelphia.
Seeing that the Eagles are ranked 14th against the run, there's no reason for Morris to deviate from the upward trend in production he's been on.
Another 100-yard outing should be in the cards for Morris.
Nonetheless, even in the event Washington features the running game—which is recommended—Griffin will still need to capitalize when the Eagles load up to stop the run.
This makes the Pierre Garcon and Cary Williams matchup one that's worth monitoring. As Griffin's go-to receiver, Garcon will need to exploit Williams' one-on-one coverage in such instances.
In their Week 1 matchup, Garcon netted 64 yards and seven receptions in the 11 throws Griffin slung his way. Additionally, when they faced each other in 2012—Williams was on the Baltimore Ravens—Garcon had five receptions for 83 yards and a score.
Good as these numbers were, Garcon's long reception was only 23 yards.
If Washington is to make Philadelphia pay for loading the box, it will need Garcon to make plays deep down the field.
For Griffin and Garcon to connect deep, though, the Washington offensive line will have to win its matchup against the Eagles' pass rush.
Lost in the Redskins' effectiveness throwing the ball in Week 10 was the their inability to keep Griffin upright, particularly in the second half.
Washington allowed four sacks and eight hits on Griffin against Minnesota.
According to John Keim of ESPN.com, the Redskins' interior linemen were to blame for this:
The interior of the line needs to hold up much better, specifically center Will Montgomery and right guard Chris Chester. There were times when it appeared that the Vikings caught the Redskins in a situation with the center turned to one side and the pressure coming in behind him and through Chester.
Pass protection was also an issue for the Skins in Week 1 versus the Eagles. Philadelphia registered three sacks and had nine hits on Griffin.
With the Eagles 25th in sacks, it's no secret that they'll have to dial up blitzes in order to pressure the quarterback. This was the case in Week 1. Of their three sacks, two came via the blitz, as middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and cornerback Cary Williams garnered the sacks.
Whether it's calling more quarterback rollouts or keeping in an additional blocker, protecting Griffin has to be a main priority of the Washington coaching staff—you hear that Kyle and Mike Shanahan?
After seeing Christian Ponder—I repeat, Christian Ponder!—torment the Washington defense in Week 10, the onus will be on the offense to carry the Redskins to victory.
At 3-6, Washington has little margin for error. Big plays from Garcon, a heavy dosage of Morris and excellent pass protection aren't necessities but requirements for the Redskins to defeat the Eagles.
Display this offensive perfection, in Week 11 and for the rest of the season, and Washington's playoff hopes will remain on life support.
But fail in just one aspect, as they did in Minnesota, and the Redskins can officially turn their focus to the 2014 season.