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Redskins 2013 Game-by-Game Match-up: Raiders will not find themselves before playing the Redskins

This is the fourth of a 16-part series where Hog Heaven looks at each game on the Washington Redskins 2013 schedule. We are 19 days away from the opening of training camp.

Sunday, Sep 29 – Redskins at Raiders

Quarterback Match-up: People look at Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn and see the future of Kirk Cousins. Perhaps they confuse Flynn’s story with that of Kevin Kolb whom Philadelphia traded to Arizona for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick. Or, perhaps they see Oakland as a future home for Cousins because, well, … Matt Flynn.

Flynn, Kolb, Alex Smith and Matt Cassel are poster children of trade value that can be had for back-up quarterbacks – as long as you make that trade before anyone knows for certain how good or bad the player is.

Everybody wants to trade Cousins. There is no hurry to do that before the fourth year of his rookie contract. Fans are too eager to trade “excess talent” for Draft picks. Cousins won us a game, people, and he had a save against the future Super Bowl champs. What’s wrong with strength on strength at quarterback?

Oakland traded a fifth-round pick for Flynn whose prospects in Oakland may fare no better than it did in Seattle. Carson Palmer delivered a respectable performance that Flynn might not match. But Palmer was a reminder of a four-win season and of Hue Jackson’s expensive trade that got Jackson fired.

The statmasters at Cold, Hard Football Facts cite the correlation of QB passer rating differential to wins. I won’t bother to look up the 2012 stats. A healthy Robert Griffin III, or Cousins, should outperform Flynn or back-up Terrelle Pryor.

End of story.  

Coordinator Match-up

Greg Olsen vs. Jim Haslett: The Raiders are trying to find their post-Al Davis identities with the talent Al Davis left to them. The late Mr. Davis tried in vain to reconstruct the great Raiders teams of the 1970s with Snake Stabler’s downfield offense.  

That didn’t leave Olsen much talent to work with. No Raiders player was selected by NFL players to the Top 100 Players of 2013. Oakland’s receivers are average. RB Darren McFadden is inconsistently healthy. To top it off, Olsen is installing a new playbook that likely will take all season for the players to “get.”

The entire 2013 season is an investment in Oakland's future. Oakland’s passing game is something even Washington’s secondary should handle.

I look for a big game from DeAngelo Hall. The Raiders unceremoniously dumped him mid-season 2008. He should have an ax to grind. Jim Haslett is, no doubt, sharpening it for him.  

Kyle Shanahan vs. Jason Tarver: Tarver is in his second year as Oakland’s DC. He was a college coach at Stanford before that. As with Olsen, he doesn’t have much talent to work with, although the Raiders did sign FS Charles Woodson for something like a homecoming-swan song for a great, but aging, player.

Storyline: Contenders always beat teams they are supposed to beat. Pretenders do not.

The Redskins travel to Oakland for the 4:25 PM ET (1:25 PM PT) kickoff. That is not as fatiguing as a west coast team flying east.

Way too early prediction: Any NFL team can beat any other team. That is the biggest argument for Oakland to win this game. This game should go for the Redskins unless they fall asleep on the Raiders.

Monday: Dallas at Washington

“Way too early prediction” means we reserve the right to change our minds after we see these teams in preseason games. Look for Hog Heaven’s stake-in-the-ground prediction the week before game one.

This story idea was inspired by the Big Ten Network Tom Dienhart who is running a similar series for the B1G football season.

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