Previewing the 2011 foes: The AFC East

Previewing the 2011 foes: The AFC East
January 21, 2011, 11:49 am
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Friday, January 21, 2010 6:45 AM

By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger
CSNwashington.com
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While the NFL schedule will not come out until sometime in April, each teams 2011 opponents are known as are the stadiums where the games will be played. Over the next week, we will take a look at the Redskins opponents next year, a look at the history of the series, and a quick assessment of the Redskins chances. We start with the four teams in the AFC East. Next week we will look at the division foes and the six NFC teams on the slate. New England Patriots at FedEx Field Believe it or not, the last time the Patriots came to Washington, the Steve Spurrier-led Redskins bested Bill Belichick and company. Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright scored third-quarter touchdowns to stake the Redskins to a 20-3 lead in the third quarter. Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to rally New England but the Redskins held on for the 20-17 win. The loss must have motivated the Patriots. The won their next 21 games, including Super Bowl XXXVIII. The last time the Redskins played the Patriots, Joe Gibbs suffered the worst loss of his career. A late touchdown by Washington gave a smidgen of respectability in a merciless 52-7 New England pounding. This year the Patriots went 14-2 in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year but the lost to the Jets after getting a first-round playoff bye. It might be better to have this game come early in the schedule. For one thing, Tom Brady just underwent foot surgery and he may be carrying some rust from an idle offseason. Also, the Patriots have two draft picks in each of the first three rounds of the April draft. Yeah, thats not much to hang your hat on. This will be a tough one for the Redskins no matter when it is played. New York Jets at FedEx Field Before the NFL started having the defending Super Bowl champs host the Thursday night season opener, the league decided that a matchup between the Jets and the Redskins, who had signed several Jets during the offseason, would be a great idea. The Redskins, who had signed New Yorks wide receiver Laveranues Coles, guard Randy Thomas, kicker John Hall, and kick returner Chad Morton, led 13-7 going into the fourth quarter. The Jets got two Doug Brien field goals to tie it up but Hall booted the game-winner from 33 yards out in the last seconds. The Redskins are 8-1 all-time against the Jets. They came close to losing the last time they played, in 2007, as the Jets had a 17-3 lead in the second quarter in Giants Stadium. Washington slowly climbed back into it and took a 20-17 fourth-quarter lead on a one-yard Clinton Portis touchdown run. After the Jets tied it up with a late field goal, the running of Portis, who rushed for 196 yards on the day, got the Redskins in position for Shaun Suishams 46-yard game-winning field goal in overtime. The Redskins only loss to the Jets came in 1993. In one of the most unwatchable games in NFL history, the Jets won 3-0. This is another tough matchup for the Redskins. The Jets were 11-5 and they are playing on Sunday for the right to go to the Super Bowl. They did have some struggles on the road, needing near-miraculous rallies to win in Detroit and Cleveland on consecutive Sundays in November and losing at the Bears in Week 16. Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium The Redskins last meeting with the Bills is one that will never be forgotten but for all the wrong reasons. The somber pregame ceremonies honoring the just-slain Sean Taylor. The 10-man defense employed on the games first snap and the Bills run on that play. The 16-5 lead with 5:42 left in the third quarter. The back to back timeouts that Gibbs called to draw a 15-yard penalty that turned a 51-yard Rian Lindell attempt to win it into a 36-yarder and a stunning 17-16 loss. Although the circumstances were not tragic the last time the Redskins visited Buffalo the result was the same. Travis Henry ripped through the Redskins defense for 167 yards rushing, Drew Bledsoe added 244 through th air and the Bills controlled the game throughout, winning 24-7. The Bills were a turnaround story this year. They lost their first eight games and then finished the second half of the season 4-4. They suffered tough overtime losses to playoff participants Baltimore, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh. The Redskins have lost five straight to Buffalo. They havent beaten the Bills at all since 1990 when five Chip Lohmiller field goals boosted the Redskins to a 29-14 win over Super Bowl bound Buffalo at RFK Stadium. Washington has not won in Buffalo since 1987 when George Rogers 125 yards rushing paced a 27-7 win in what was then called Rich Stadium. Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium The last time the Redskins went to Miami the building was called Pro Player Stadium. A two-yard Trung Canidate touchdown run gave the Redskins a 20-7 lead in the second quarter and Washington was up 23-10 going into the fourth quarter. But they could not hang on as Ricky Williams scored touchdowns on runs of 1 and 24 yards for a 24-23 Dolphins win. The Dolphins came to FedEx Field to open the 2007 season. Miami would win just one game all season but they pushed the Redskins to overtime before Shaun Suishams 39-yard field goal won it for the home team. As of now, the Dolphins are in something of state of disarray. Owner Stephen Ross openly courted Jim Harbaugh to be their head coach while Tony Sparano, who led the team to the AFC East title just two years ago, twisted in the wind. They might be in search of a new quarterback after Chad Henne threw for 15 touchdowns with 19 interceptions in 2010. The ticket holders were not happy as the Dolphins went 1-7 at home. But if history holds, the Redskins will have a tough time winning there. They have never won a game at Miami. You can reach Rich Tandler by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Join Rich for a chat during both of the conference championship games this Sunday, Jan. 23. We can talk about the games, try to figure out how the Redskins beat both of the NFC finalists, discuss the Redskins prospects in free agency and in the draft, and anything else you want to chat about. Things will get underway at www.RealRedskins.com when the NFC game kicks off at 3:00 and go all the way through Jets-Steelers whenever that may end. See you there!