For the third time in five games this season, there is very little intrigue leading up to a New England Patriots game.
The Patriots travel to play the Washington Redskins in Week 5, and there really is no question who will win the game. The Patriots are undefeated, while the Redskins are 0-4. The Patriots look well on their way to another AFC East title and possible Super Bowl appearance, while Washington might fire their head coach, Jay Gruden, as early as Monday.
These are two teams headed in very different directions.
So, here are three reasons to get excited for Sunday’s game. It’s all we could come up with.
1. Sony Michel could get back on track
Washington is ranked 29th in the NFL in run defense, letting up 147.5 yards per game. They’re 22nd in yards per carry, allowing 4.7 yards per clip.
The Patriots already ruled out running back Rex Burkhead, so New England is left with Sony Michel, James White, Brandon Bolden and Damien Harris at running back. Harris has yet to receive a touch this season, and he’s only suited up in one game. White primarily is used as a pass-catcher, while Bolden’s main role is on special teams.
All of this is to say this might actually be the game to get Michel going.
Michel has 62 carries for 171 yards with two touchdowns in four games this season. He’s averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and has no receptions on only one target. If the Patriots’ offensive line can create some room against a struggling Redskins offensive line for Michel, then the second-year running back could have his first big game of the season.
2. Modern points allowed record
The Patriots have allowed just 27 points all season. The record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season is held by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, who let up just 165 points. The Patriots currently are on pace to let up 108 points. To allow fewer points than the 2000 Ravens, the Patriots would have to let up less than 11.4 points per game from here on out.
They should be able to hold the Redskins to single digits Sunday. Washington is starting veteran quarterback Colt McCoy who has yet to play this season as he’s coming off of a broken leg suffered in December.
3. Josh Gordon vs. Josh Norman
Norman is a big-name cornerback, but he’s having a dreadful season. He’s let up 16 catches on 24 targets for 241 yards with four touchdowns, one interception and two pass breakups, per Pro Football Focus.
Gordon has slightly underperformed so far this season, catching 14 passes on 27 targets for 221 yards with one touchdown. If Gordon draws Norman, quarterback Tom Brady could have a field day throwing at his biggest receiving target. Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and James White also could have big games against Washington’s defense, which was expected to be a strength heading into the season but has not lived up to its potential.
Thumbnail photo via Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images