How he beats you: The total package, Fred Jackson has size (6-foot-1, 215 pounds), power and speed, and is one of the best backs in the league. He has good vision and accelerates through the hole. This season, he has compiled 601 yards on 106 carries (5.7 yard average) and six touchdowns. He also is a good receiver and has 24 catches for 279 yards under his belt this year. “He looks like a great back,” Redskins safety LaRon Landry said. “He’ll pick us apart where we’re not sound. We have to be sound.”
How to stop him: It starts up front. The Redskins’ linemen have to plug holes, and the linebackers have to shoot the gaps to try to limit Jackson’s running room. And the Redskins must wrap up. That’s obviously easier said than done. Washington hasn’t displayed the best tackling skill, and Jackson is a powerful back. But the Redskins must run to the ball and gang tackle.
Bottom line: Jackson’s 5.7 yards per carry rank third in the NFL, so clearly not many teams have succeeded in stopping him. Just twice this season has he failed to top the 100-yard mark. The offense can help the defense by getting off to a fast start and remaining in the lead so the Bills will be forced to throw the ball. The Redskins could be without one of their top tacklers in London Fletcher, so they face a tall, tall task. “You see he gets a lot of his success when he finds a hole or somebody’s out of their gap defensively,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan says. “So we’ve got to be really gap sound and sound tackling and get 11 hats to the ball.”