All eyes will be on rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, when the Washington Redskins take on the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints defense, under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, needs to limit Griffin's ability to make plays with his feet.
The Redskins meanwhile, must rely on the running game to protect Griffin and keep the ball away from Drew Brees.
The Saints must keep Robert Griffin in the pocket
Second overall draft pick Robert Griffin is very effective when he is allowed to move the pocket. Utilizing his athleticism with bootleg and rollout plays, will be a feature of the Redskins offense this season.
Defensive ends Will Smith and Martez Wilson must maintain outside rush lanes and trust hulking tackle Brodrick Bunkley to occupy the middle. That should leave Griffin little room to escape and make manufacture big plays in space.
The Saints must isolate RB Darren Sproles against Washington's LB's
The Redskins secondary lacks any credible depth at safety and may compensate by staying deep. That's not a bad idea against wideouts like Marques Colston and Devery Henderson and tight end Jimmy Graham.
However, it will let the Saints isolate pass-catching scat back Darren Sproles against linebackers. That's a recipe for disaster for any defense, even one with the Redskins talent at the position.
If Sproles gets isolated one-on-one with a linebacker, the diminutive speedster should have no problem getting free for huge gains.
The Redskins must keep the ball on the ground and control the clock
Despite the additions of Griffin and some new receivers, the running game represents the Redskins best hope for success against the Saints.
Washington's offense must control the clock and keep the ball away from Brees and company. Fortunately, the Redskins have an underrated ground game, based on Mike Shanahan's famed zone-running scheme.
Shanahan has three young and productive runners at his disposal. Rookie Alfred Morris was highly impressive during preseason and can pound the Saints' light defensive front.
Second-year backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster can also make plays. If the Redskins feature the run they can make the game easier for Griffin and force the Saints into catch-up mode.
Prediction: Washington Redskins 17-New Orleans Saints 24
This game will be a lot closer than maybe many expect. The Redskins will play tough on both sides of the ball.
However, as he so often does, Brees will eventually make the big plays when it counts to steer the Saints to victory.
Where To Watch: Redskins At Saints, 1 p.m. ET11965