FBG says: Bad matchup. The Washington Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden before their week six matchup with the Miami Dolphins. Bill Callahan, the team's interim head coach, has been very vocal about his concern with Washington's dependence upon the passing game. Callahan has made multiple comments to the media stating his desire to run the football more, which makes little sense for a team that opened the season 0-5 and has spent the majority of their time playing from behind. Nonetheless, expect the Redskins' offense to pass the ball significantly less in the final 11 games than they did in their first 5 with Gruden at the helm. Under center, Case Keenum has returned as the team's starting quarterback following a mid-game benching against the New York Giants and one Colt McCoy start against the New England Patriots. While Keenum's volume as a passer has salvaged respectable totals at quarterback, his efficiency has been mediocre. The lack of efficiency is a massive red flag moving forward for Washington's passing game in a lower-volume attack. At wide receiver, rookie Terry McLaurin is head and shoulders above the rest of Washington's pass-catchers. McLaurin has found the end zone in every game except one this year. The lone game McLaurin did not score was against Stephon Gilmore and the New England Patriots, one of the league's best lockdown cornerbacks. While McLaurin's 3 receptions for 56 yards against the Patriots are unimpressive at first, it ranks as one of the best receiving performances against Gilmore in recent memory. After McLaurin, however, the receiving talent in Washington's offense drops dramatically. Slot receiver Trey Quinn is the Redskins' second most-targeted receiver, but he has registered approximately one-quarter of McLaurin's receiving production. In the trenches, Washington's offensive line has been one of the NFL's weaker units throughout 2019, which has not helped quarterback Case Keenum whatsoever.
The San Francisco 49ers arguably field the league's best pass defense this season. Through 5 games this year, the 49ers have kept 4 of their opponents under 200 yards passing, the best mark in the NFL. San Francisco's defense is strong at all three levels, but in the trenches, they have one of the deepest groups of pass-rushers in the league. Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and DeForest Buckner all rank as above-average pass-rushers along the defensive line. The 49ers' front four has combined for nearly three sacks per game by itself through the first five games of the 2019 campaign, a remarkably high number. At linebacker, Kwon Alexander leads the way as an elite coverage linebacker with an interception and three pass breakups to his name this season. Then, in the secondary, Richard Sherman and K'Waun Williams make up one of the NFL's best cornerback duos. Sherman and Williams have each only allowed one touchdown through five games in 2019, leaving quarterbacks to target Emmanuel Moseley in coverage. Moseley has been equally impressive as Ahkello Witherspoon's injury replacement, allowing zero touchdowns in his two games of significant playing time. Washington Redskins' head coach Bill Callahan has made it no secret that he wants to throw the ball less down the stretch this season. Decreasing Case Keenum's passing volume against San Francisco is the perfect recipe for the 49ers to hold another passing attack under 200 yards here in week seven.