[I am still reeling from a disastrous Sunday loss by the Chiefs. Arrowhead was a frozen tundra, and Kansas City squandered a consistent lead throughout the first three quarters to fall to defeat on a last-second field goal by former Chief Ryan Succop from 53 yards out. In a word, it was devastating.
The chance to turn my attention to the Monday Night game is a welcome distraction and we have a blockbuster this evening with the Redskins and the Panthers. One of our top new writers, NYC-based Andrew Mazza, gives us his thoughts. The kid from Queens brings it here. Welcome, Andrew.]
Let’s take a look at what is likely to play out on Monday Night at FedEx Field in Washington, DC:
It is going to be a low-scoring game to start. Each team will have one turnover in the first half. Carolina will take the early lead in the first half. Cousins and his offense will step out of that locker room and throw for 200+ yards in the second half for a pair of touchdowns with another turnover in the second half. While the Panthers are in one of their late game drives, Cam will throw an untimely interception, or someone will fumble, and the Redskins will steal the game as they continue their push to the playoffs.
The Carolina offense has struggled to start the first quarter strong this season, only averaging a 64.9 passer rating in the 1st quarter and a much better but still mediocre 83.8 passer rating in the second quarter. The Washington defense, however, has also struggled early on in games and that is why I think Carolina will have the lead coming into the half. Carolina has also thrown plenty of interceptions and lost many fumbles (8!) in the first half, so don’t be surprised if Washington gets a momentum changing turnover in the first half, which they have failed to do for the majority of the season of the season. Carolina has forced an incredible amount of fumbles (11) in the first half, and Washington is known for being poor at recovering their own fumbles (75% are lost) even though they rarely fumble in the 1st half (only 4).
Then, the second half will start off like many other halves for the Redskins, they will start with the ball and march down a field to at last put 7 on the board. Washington, especially Kirk Cousins, are known to finish games strong. Kirk Cousins has posted an 119.6 passer rating in the 3rd quarter and a 97.8 passer rating in the 4th quarter of games this season. I predict that Carolina’s defense will start to feel the pressure as Kirk starts to heat up. The Panthers aren’t used to being attacked vertically, and Desean Jackson has been on fire lately stretching the field on passes from Kirk Cousins. However, Carolina is great at getting the game-changing interceptions when opponents are in Panther territory, but not yet in the Redzone. This is not an area of struggle for Kirk. However, he has thrown the most interceptions in this part of the field. The two-minute drill for Redskins’ fans has been nerve-racking. In many games, it is up to the ‘Skins defense to finish the game; in New York and Philly, they ended the games on a turnover, however in Detroit, Stafford was able to pick apart the Redskins like a surgeon.
In more than six Carolina games, the score was decided by 10 points or less. Suffice to say, this is going to be a very close and exciting back game.