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Week 2 preview: Rams at Redskins

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St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FedExField, Landover, Md. – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, David Diehl, Kristina Pink

*Keys to the game: The Rams converted 54.5 percent of their third downs in the opening overtime win over the Seahawks, a surprise considering the shaky state of their offensive line and injury-thinned running back depth chart. Tre’ Mason (hamstring) said he is ready to go after bowling ball third-down back Bennie Cunningham had 20 touches against the Seahawks. With a healthy ground attack, QB Nick Foles is set up for more success throwing downfield, where the Redskins aren’t sure tacklers and injuries are stacking up.

Standing up to the Rams’ rotation of five first-round defensive linemen is another story, and standing in the pocket a dangerous dare for QB Kirk Cousins. He watched as the Rams knocked Robert Griffin III out of the game and notched seven total sacks in a 24-0 whitewash in Washington last season. The crucial factor for Cousins without No. 1 receiver DeSean Jackson is finding his tight ends and backs on short routes before the pocket crumbles. RB Alfred Morris will get his chances, but blocking must be pristine, or results will match the 2014 embarrassment (eight carries, six yards).

*Matchup to watch – Redskins LT Trent Williams vs. Rams DE Robert Quinn: Elite athletes renew acquaintance and the Redskins can’t afford to lend Williams much of a hand with more line-wreckers to worry about. Quinn had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the 2014 meeting.

*Player spotlight – Redskins TE Jordan Reed: The Redskins will employ bigger base packages to counteract the Rams’ front seven, and Reed won’t be used strictly as a blocker now that he’s finally healthy.

*Fast facts: Rams DT Aaron Donald has a sack in seven of the past eight games, including 2.0 in Week 1. … The Redskins have a minus-115 point differential in their past nine games.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Washington might not entirely wilt under pressure and kept Miami’s impressive D-line from blowing up the offense last week. However, without means to dictate pace, the Rams impose their will with superior defensive talent.

*Our pick: Rams 25-13.


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