News | Washington Commanders -

Redskins-Saints: 4 Keys To the Game Presented by Papa John's

88565.jpg breaks down some of the key matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Saints game at FedExField

"Redskins-Saints: 4 Keys to the Game" is presented by Papa John's.

Every Monday, fans can order a large cheese pizza for only $9.99, plus for each touchdown that the Redskins score, fans get one free topping. And with a Redskins victory, fans get double the toppings.


Jason Campbell vs. Saints Pass Rush

Campbell has performed well against the pass rush against Dallas and Philadelphia the last two weeks, fending off pressure to deliver passes downfield.

He thrived by using his mobility to escape pass rushers, buying time and finding open receivers. He has been sacked just twice in the last two weeks.

In a 2008 matchup against the Saints at FedExField, Campbell had one of his best games as a pro, completing 24-of-36 passes for 321 yards. His 67-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss in the fourth quarter was a game-winner.

This season, the Redskins have allowed 33 sacks, tied for 28th-most in the league.

New Orleans is tied for 10th in the league with 26 sacks. The pass rush is led by defensive ends Will Smith, who has 10 sacks, and Charles Grant, who has 4.5 sacks.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the former Redskins coach, likes to blitz his linebackers and safeties, but their pressure shows up most in the turnover department.

The Saints lead the NFL with 34 turnovers, including a remarkable 22 interceptions. Simply, put, they are forcing quarterbacks into mistakes.





Redskins Pass Rush vs. Drew Brees

The Redskins' defense becomes more imposing with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth expected back this week. Haynesworth, sidelined for two games due to an ankle injury, has been a key to the Redskins' pass rush.

With Haynesworth in the lineup, the Redskins' pass rush posted an average of 3.5 sacks per game from Weeks 4-10. They had three sacks the last two games.

That means Andre Carter, who leads the defense with nine sacks, and Brian Orakpo, who has seven, should have more opportunities to get to the quarterback.

Overall, the Redskins are ranked ninth in the NFL with 27 sacks.

Brees has thrived on strong pass protection all season. He has been sacked just 14 times this season, third-best in the league.

His offensive line includes veterans Jon Stinchcomb at right tackle and Jonathan Goodwin at center. Guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks are emerging while left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who matches up against Carter, is in his first year as a starter for the Saints.

If the Redskins can rattle Brees and keep him out of rhythm, then they can slow down the Saints' dynamic passing offense. Brees has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,117 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions.


Redskins Kick Coverage vs. Courtney Roby/Reggie Bush

The Redskins are among the best in the league in kickoff and punt coverage. They are allowing 19.3 yards per kick return, ranked second on the league, and 7.0 yards per punt return, ranked seventh in the league.

H.B. Blades leads the Redskins' special teams with 21 tackles, followed by Mike Sellers and Reed Doughty with 15 each.

Roby is among the league's top kick returners, averaging 28.1 yards per return. He had a 97-yard return for a touchdown earlier this season.

Bush, slowed by a knee injury in recent weeks, has struggled on punt returns, averaging just 3.8 yards per return. The Redskins remember his 55-yard touchdown return at FedExField last year, though.

The Saints are second in the league in kick return average and 31st in punt return average.


Santana Moss vs. Malcolm Jenkins

Moss, the 5-10, 200-pound speedster, leads the Redskins in receptions this season with 44 catches for 574 yards and three touchdowns.

In last year's game vs. New Orleans, Moss caught seven passes for 164 yards, including the 67-yard game-winner in which he beat rookie cornerback Tracy Porter in one-on-one coverage.

The Saints' secondary is banged up heading into Sunday's game. Porter is not expected to play due to a knee injury, Randall Gay has a hamstring injury and Jabari Greer has a groin injury.

That means Moss may go up against a Saints rookie cornerback for the second year in a row. Jenkins, the Saints' first-round draft pick last April, the likely starter at right cornerback for the Saints.

Jenkins, 6-0 and 204 pounds, has started the last two games and posted 15 tackles, one interception and three passes defended.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.