NFL 2017 Week 2: Washington Redskins vs Los Angeles Rams Preview and Prediction

Sean McVay faces his old boss Jay Gruden as McVay's Rams host Gruden's Redskins.

Week 1 recap

Washington’s season opener at home was spoiled by the division rival Eagles in a 30-17 loss. Washington’s offense never found much of a groove, scoring just a single touchdown on a Kirk Cousins pass to Chris Thompson. The defense also chipped in a score when Ryan Kerrigan took an interception back for a touchdown. Washington couldn’t get the running game going, while Cousins struggled to find receivers downfield. Four turnovers were extremely damaging as well, especially when Cousins fumbled late and Fletcher Cox took it back 20 yards for the clinching Eagles score.

The head coaching debut for Sean McVay couldn’t have gone much better, as the Rams pummeled Indianapolis in front of a home crowd 46-9. An interception return for a touchdown by Trumaine Johnson set the tone early for a dominating defensive performance, as the Colts managed just 225 yards, were sacked four times, and turned it over three times, with two of those returned for scores. Meanwhile, Jared Goff had an encouraging beginning to his second year in the league, posting the most efficient statistics of his career and tossing a touchdown to rookie Cooper Kupp.

Hello, not-so-old friend

Sean McVay, the 31-year-old head coach of the Rams, made his bones the past few seasons as offensive coordinator under Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. Their reunion comes with the young coach riding high following the Rams romp in Week 1 and his mentor trying to pick up the pieces after the Redskins put together a lackluster effort in their opener in a home loss. It should be interesting to watch them move the chess pieces on the board against each other.

Turnovers are killer

Washington’s offense certainly wasn’t at its best in the opener, managing just one touchdown (the other came on an interception return) But four turnovers ultimately were the major culprits in the loss. The Rams, meanwhile, showed some defensive opportunism of their own with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in their opening win. Washington has to hold on the ball before they can think about moving it.

Great Goff!

After a star-crossed rookie season spent either on the pine or struggling mightily on the field, Jared Goff looked like a new man under center for the Rams in the win over the Colts, nailing pass after pass with precision and confidence. Granted, Indianapolis didn’t put up much of a fight, but the Redskins had their own difficulties handling Carson Wentz a week ago. Goff could build his confidence even more with another big performance.

Rams WR Sammy Watkins vs. Redskins CB Josh Norman

It seems likely that Norman will be lining up against the Rams newest weapon for much of the afternoon on Sunday. The good news for Goff is that there are other receivers developing so that the offense won’t collapse if Watkins gets blanketed. On the other hand, if Watkins does bust out some big plays on Sunday, the sky is the limit for the Rams offense.

Fantasy football tip – Rams WR Cooper Kupp

If you haven’t already boarded the Kupp train after his excellent preseason and his big Week 1 effort, you best get on quickly, because it’s about to get crowded. The rookie is essentially playing the same role in McVay’s offense that Jamison Crowder filled last year in Washington, and that led to Crowder having a sleeper season. Kupp is headed to 1,000 yards.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams 27-23 Washington Redskins

This prediction is based more on the feeling that the Redskins are just heading in the wrong direction than it is a belief that the Rams have arrived. They haven’t yet, but they will be 2-0 after the game.

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Jim Beviglia

Jim is a freelance writer concentrating on music and sports. He is the author of four books and writes for several online and print publications. He lives in Old Forge, Pennsylvania with his wife Marie and his daughter Daniele.