The best storyline going into the Washington Redskins - Tennessee Titans game on Sunday is Gil Brandt's NFL.com headline Reeling Redskins visit Tennessee to take on slumping Titans.
This game will tell us a lot about Redskins players and coaches. Will they be numb in Nashville? Or will they take out their frustrations against their next opponent?
No one gives Washington a shot against Tennessee. The eight members of ESPN's Pigskin Pick 'em crew all pick the Titans. Who can blame them? That just goes to show how a nationally televised, 59-point butt whuppin' influences people.
What happened Monday night?
Well, they could be wrong. Two things conspired against the Redskins in the Eagles game. They lost to the bye and ran a poorly conceived defense, perhaps because of distractions during the bye.
Pulling Donovan McNabb at the worst possible moment in the Detroit Lions game was a Vinny Cerrato-like move. Cerrato could have written Mike Shanahan's explanations for it. The uncomfortable resemblance of the Shannyskins to the Snyderskins left the coach and the staff under fire for the two-week bye period, losing the benefits of the two-week layoff.
On defense, the Redskins sacrificed yards to gain turnovers. The trade-off worked against most opponents, especially the Eagles in October. In the Monday night game, Washington laid off defensively out of concern for Michael Vick's newly found passing skills. Washington lost because the poorly conceived defense gave up yards and points without disrupting Philly's offense.
Losses that bad only come from huge disparities in talent, or poor preparation by the coaches. Washington won the first game, evidence of competitive talent at least. Coaching has to be better.
The loss overwhelmed several good points about the Redskins offense. Keiland Williams gained 139 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns. Washington's 28 points was its highest scoring output of the season. Anthony Armstrong and Fred Davis made big plays leading to scores, or setting up scores.
The Haynesworth factor
Albert wants to leave. Shanahan wants to trade him. At some point, these two have to conspire to pull that off. Haynesworth has to have big games. Shanahan has to play him and talk him up more. Isn't that just what has been happening?
Haynesworth has been playing more and getting sacks. Shanahan has been talking him up. If they continue to work like that through the rest of the season, Washington may be offered something reasonable in trade for Big Al, say a third-round pick and a ham sandwich.
Big Al said he would always be a Titan. There is no better venue for Haynesworth to shine than in Nashville.
And, the winner is...
The Redskins fell seven places on the Bloguin NFL Week 10 Power Poll to 26th place. The Titans rank 12th.
The Titans are seven point favorites, an over-reaction to the Redskins' meltdown against the Eagles. Washington's offense has performed better on average than Tennessee. I look for Chris Johnson to have his way for a couple of touchdowns. Randy Moss may escape for a score.
Donovan McNabb will deliver a big play, or two. Clinton Portis return will make a difference in blocking if not running. I don't think the Titans know how fast Brandon Banks really is. This game will come down to field goals and could go either way...if the 'Skins are over their Monday night hangover.