Washington has won three matchups in a row to extend its all-time series lead over New York to 7-1.
Sporting a 4-2 record but having played inconsistently throughout the young season, the jury was still out on whether the Redskins were a true threat in the NFC. They figured to know where they stood after a game at New England against one of the league's elite teams. What they learned is that they have a long way to go before they can consider themselves a serious contender. The Patriots handed them a 52-7 trouncing. Playing a much less accomplished team, the Jets were also humbled in Week 8. They lost at home to an injury-riddled Bills team, 13-3, and were swept in the season series by Buffalo.
Despite Sunday's blowout loss against one of the AFC heavyweights, Washington still has one major factor going for it -- it plays in the NFC, where 4-3 puts it firmly in the mix. A loss to the struggling Jets, though, and the Redskins will find themselves falling further behind the pack with the toughest part of their schedule lying ahead. New York said goodbye to any realistic chance of making the playoffs weeks ago, so at this point the future is what's at stake. Second-year quarterback Kellen Clemens gets the start in place of erratic veteran Chad Pennington and the Jets need to find out if Clemens is the long-term answer at the most important position on the field.
Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles vs. Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs. One of the few bright spots for the Jets this season has been the play of Coles. On an offense with inconsistent quarterback play, a tepid running game and a shaky offensive line, Coles has stood out with his impressive productivity. He ranks ninth in the AFC with 42 receptions and ranks fourth in the AFC with six touchdowns. He also has added motivation going against Washington after his acrimonious departure from the nation's capital following the 2004 season. The task of covering him falls to Springs. While the Redskins have mostly played zone defense this season, they may opt to blitz more against the inexperienced Clemens and that would place Springs in one-on-one coverage against Coles. Following last Sunday's season-ending knee injury to Carlos Rogers and the lingering hamstring ailment afflicting Fred Smoot, Springs is suddenly the only healthy veteran corner on the roster. If he can contain the Jets' biggest threat, the Redskins' chances of winning infinitely increase.
Did you know?
Both of Washington's starting offensive guards to begin the year were former Jets. Randy Thomas, out for at least another month with a triceps injury, played with New York from 1999-2002, and Pete Kendall, acquired from the Jets during training camp, spent the past three seasons in New York.