What: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals, tonight, 8, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

TV/Radio: WJLA-7, ESPN; WJFK-FM-106.7, WBQB-FM-101.5, WPLC-FM-94.3,

WKIK-FM-102.9, WAGE-1200, WNAV-1430, WFMD-930.

Line: Redskins by 3A.


Follow Centers's lead.

FB Larry Centers is one of the team's emotional leaders, and he will be even more fiery than usual in his first game against his former club. Look for the Redskins to get him the ball early and often.

Force turnovers.

The Redskins are plus-6 in turnover margin this season; the Cardinals are minus-5. More of the same would make it tough for Arizona to win.

Better play from the linebackers.

It's new assistant coach Bill Arnsparger's first game, but the real key by the league's last-ranked defense is for LBs Shawn Barber, Greg Jones and Derek Smith to improve.


Arizona has the NFL's second-ranked pass defense, but is 27th against the rush, so the Redskins may use RB Stephen Davis to set up QB Brad Johnson's passing. Cardinals CB Aeneas Williams is one of the league's best, so the Redskins might work against CB Tom Knight. TE Stephen Alexander has a bruised lower back. He's likely to start, but the Redskins could use more three-WR packages. That will spread the Cardinals' defense, which may help the running game as well.

Key Matchup

Redskins G Tre Johnson vs. Cardinals DT Eric Swann

Two potentially dominant linemen will play despite injuries. Johnson has played at a Pro Bowl level this season, but has a sprained ligament in his right knee. Swann played last week for the first time in a year, following knee surgery, and still is being eased back toward full-time duty.


QB Jake Plummer looked like the second coming of Joe Montana while leading Arizona to the playoffs last season, but has struggled with injuries and interceptions this season. Meanwhile, WR Rob Moore has a pulled hamstring and the Cardinals are averaging 2.4 yards per rushing attempt and 69 rushing yards per game. Is this the week that the Redskins' defense, ranked last in the NFL, finally gets well?

Key Matchup

Redskins DE Marco Coleman vs. Cardinals LT Matt Joyce

Coleman is the Redskins' most energetic defensive lineman, and Joyce is not a bona fide starting LT. He's a guard who has been forced to play the position that was going to be manned by rookie L.J. Shelton until the first-round draft choice's holdout lasted through the first two games.


The Redskins have made major mistakes in each game. Return man Brian Mitchell had two fumbles against the Panthers two weeks ago, but one was reversed by instant replay. P Matt Turk continues to experiment with a new kicking style. PK Brett Conway has been the bright spot, and is 6 for 6 on field goal attempts. Cardinals P Scott Player averaged 46.6 yards on nine punts last week. Mac Cody is second in the NFC in punt returns at 13.9 yards per return. Mario Bates is fifth in NFC in kickoff returns at 24.5 yards per return.