Okay, note the title - "Can" is a lot different than "Will". Though I will admit, I'm venturing dangerously close to Redskins Fanboy Mode, especially after squeaking out the win over the Packers.
Let's get some full disclosure here on where my Redskins loyalties lie: I grew up a Raiders fan because I liked the Silver and Black logo on my NFL bedsheets, and I rooted for them throughout my formative years. Once I started playing fantasy football in the mid 90's, my Raiders fandom started to wane. What sense did it make for me to root for a team in California, when I've spent my entire life inside the box in the DC area? Especially since I'm a DC sports fan - Wiz, Caps, Nats, DC United - somehow, the Raiders just don't make sense anymore. I'm not a Redskins lifer by any means, but I have to pull for the hometown squad.
Alright, enough personal history - like you really care. Here are the five reasons why the Skins "can" beat the Colts this Sunday...
1) Donovan McNabb is heating up - I'm the first to admit that Donovan McNabb looked shaky throughout the Packers game; there were lots of balls thrown at the Skins wideouts' shoelaces. It looked like the Mark Brunell era all over again. But then you look at the entire body of work - 357 passing yards and an impressive 48-yard bomb to Anthony Armstrong for the touchdown that brought the Redskins within three points in the fourth quarter. McNabb may not always have a great statistical day, but he's coming up with enough big plays in the right spots to lead the Redskins to a 3-2 record after five weeks.
2) Fed Ex Field can make a difference - The stadium looked and sounded like a morgue through the first three quarters of the Packers game. But the fourth quarter was a complete 180; the 87,000+ fans were raucous and gave the Skins a clear homefield advantage. With a nationally televised game against the Colts and extra tailgating time for the fans, expect the crowd to be at a fever pitch for this matchup.
3) The Colts are vulnerable on the road - Indianapolis is 1-2 on the road, with their only road win at Denver. In three road games, the Indy defense has allowed over 30 points twice.
4) Indy can't run the ball either - We all know the Redskins' rushing game woes with Clinton Portis shelved for at least the next month, and Ryan Torain was far from impressive in his showcase opportunity against Green Bay - 16 carries for a paltry 40 yards. The Redskins rank 25th in the NFL with 88.6 rushing yards per game; the Colts are even worse, managing just 79.8 rushing yards per contest. The Colts are one-dimensional, making them easier to defend. Despite all his gaudy stats, Peyton Manning looked human in the Colts' 19-9 win over Kansas City last week, throwing for just 244 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
5) Orakpo and Landry are monsters - LaRon Landry is the NFL's Defensive MVP through the first five weeks...he has been reborn in Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense. Landry leads the NFL in total tackles with 52, has a sack, a forced fumble, and the interception that led to the Skins' win over the Packers. And Brian Orakpo is basically unblockable, being held by offensive linemen on nearly every pass rush. Orakpo notched two sacks on Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a concussion in the loss last weekend.