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49ers vs Redskins: Five Keys to Victory and Score Prediction

Matt Andruscavage
Oct 19, 2019 at 1:14 PM


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After last week's 20-7 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers have turned some heads as they remain undefeated and atop the NFC West with a 5-0 record.

Next up are the Washington Redskins, who have won a single game and that was against the Miami Dolphins. While there's no getting around how bad the Redskins are, don't expect this to be a trap game. Kyle Shanahan still has a bad taste in his mouth after his time in Washington and you can bet he will take out his frustration on the Redskins.

As far as injuries go, the 49ers will be without tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, defensive tackle D.J. Jones, and possibly running back Raheem Mostert. Mostert will be a game-time decision.

The Redskins will be missing tight end Vernon Davis, running back Chris Thompson, safety Deshazor Everett, guard Wes Martin, linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons, and possibly cornerback Josh Norman. Norman is questionable.

Here are five keys to winning this game:

Where and When: Sunday, October 20 at 1:00 EST at FedEx Field

Where to Watch: How to watch or listen to 49ers at Redskins

1) Harass Whoever Starts for Washington


Case Keenum will likely get the start, but rookie Dwayne Haskins did take all the first team reps while Keenum got rest.

It doesn't matter who is starting. The goal is the same. The 49ers need to pressure the quarterback and keep giving the ball back to the offense. The pass rush has been so good at creating pressure, collapsing the pocket and creating sacks and even interceptions after poor throws.

Against Washington, the 49ers defense could theoretically keep its opponent on its side of the 50 the entire game.

2) Control the Line of Scrimmage


While they need to ensure that Washington also cannot run the ball, it will be important for the 49ers to control the line of scrimmage when Jimmy Garoppolo is under center.

This is one of those games where the running game should control the game and keep the clock moving. Giving Jimmy G a clean pocket as well as clear running lanes for the backs early in the game should provide what the offense needs to get up early and build the lead.

If the offense can build the lead in the first half, it makes things easy on the defense, but also should make Washington one-dimensional and easy prey for the pass rush.

3) Do Not Play Down to Washington's Level


The 49ers will not look past the Redskins, but they must not play sloppy and allow this game to be close. Washington should not be in this game after halftime and it will be up to San Francisco to ensure it dominates this game, even if it's not a complete blowout.

Washington should be made to feel like it is playing a much better team, because it is. The 49ers have a complete team, even with the injuries. As long as they do not commit a large number of penalties, turn the ball over, and come out flat, this should be a game where the 49ers feel comfortable and get the win. Coach Shanahan will not allow a letdown in his return to the nation's capital with Dan Snyder watching.

4) Capitalize on Mistakes


The Redskins should make mistakes in this game and if the 49ers turn those into points, this will not be a game. San Francisco needs to play its game and let the game come to it. It doesn't have to be overly aggressive, which could lead to sloppiness, but rather, play sound football and take advantage of any miscues by Washington.

5) Get Everyone Involved


This is the kind of game where we could potentially see the whole roster get playing time if the 49ers build a lead. It would be good to be able to play as many of the reserves as possible to give the starters rest and give the young guys an opportunity to get some reps in.

I think we would all like to see many of the starters sitting on the bench, relaxed, after three quarters.

Prediction


The 49ers should have no problem winning this game, but it will be up to the coaching staff to ensure they don't play poorly, show up flat, and beat themselves.

Expect Kyle Shanahan to treat this game like a good old fashioned revenge game and play somewhat aggressively. The Redskins don't have the firepower on offense, nor the horses on defense to be able to win this. It's the 49ers' game to win or lose.

49ers 34, Redskins 13
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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