In Week 4 of the 2003 season, the Steve Spurrier-led Redskins intercepted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady three times to preserve a 20-17 victory. From that point on, Washington went 2-10 the rest of the way leading to Spurrier's resignation, and New England never lost again, beating the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII for its second of three titles.
Washington survived a furious comeback attempt by Arizona and hung on to win 21-19. The Redskins were dominated in nearly every statistical category but used some timely takeaways to preserve their fourth victory of the season. New England needed no such dramatics in its 49-21 win over Miami. Tom Brady threw a career-high six touchdown passes, giving him 27 on the season and putting him on pace to shatter Peyton Manning's single-season record.
Playing in the tough NFC East, every win is precious for the Redskins. Though they are playing a team that has blown out every foe it has faced this season, the Redskins must do their best to come away with a victory to keep from falling even further behind the Cowboys and Giants. New England, on the other hand, has its eyes set on maintaining its perfect record. Given the Colts' unblemished mark, the Patriots need to keep winning to set up a potential matchup of unbeatens in Week 9.
Redskins secondary vs. Patriots wide receivers. The Redskins boast one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. The unit has held opposing quarterbacks to a 67.7 passer rating, lowest in the league, and ranks eighth overall in pass defense. Washington safety Sean Taylor leads the league in interceptions with five and rookie safety LaRon Landry has also made an impact with 35 tackles. Despite all of those gaudy statistics, the Redskins have yet to face a wide receiving corps the caliber of the Patriots'. Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Co. are putting up big numbers, the likes of which have never been seen before in NFL history. New England receivers have caught 19 touchdown passes this year (compared to zero for Washington wideouts), and both of the Patriots starting receivers rank in the NFL's top five in receptions. Throw in Donte' Stallworth, who has 22 catches for 367 yards, and the Patriots can attack from all angles. To have any chance at pulling off the upset, Washington's secondary must neutralize these explosive receivers.