Vikings at Redskins -- Week 6

Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md. (grass, outdoors)

When: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Spread: Redskins by 1.5

Records: Redskins (Overall: 2-3, 0-5 NFC East); Vikings (Overall: 4-1, 1-0 NFC North)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Dec. 24, 2011: Vikings 33, Redskins 26; Nov. 28, 2010: Vikings 17, Redskins 13. Series record: Redskins lead 11-10.

What matters: The Redskins’ run defense. Washington gives up too many big passing plays, but for the most part this season the defense has excelled vs. the run -- except for two long runs vs. St. Louis in Week 2 that totaled 73 yards. Washington’s front seven plays the run well and that’s what Minnesota wants to do most. The Vikings only have nine pass plays of at least 20 yards. The Vikings are comfortable winning on the ground. 

Who matters: Rookie QB Robert Griffin III is playing a week after being knocked from the game with a concussion. He has practiced all week and he'll play as long as the symptoms don’t return. How effective will he be? Will he continue inviting brutal hits or will he be wiser about avoiding them? The Redskins say they won’t call a different game because of his concussion.

Key matchups: Redskins RG Chris Chester has a tough matchup with DT Kevin Williams. The Redskins have struggled in recent weeks with quick tackles and Williams’ ability to get penetration will be disruptive. Redskins LT Trent Williams has to stop DE Jared Allen. Williams has mostly played well this season, but is coming off a subpar outing vs. Atlanta.

Inside stuff: Rookie RB Alfred Morris needs more credit for the subtle parts of his game. He breaks tackles and gains yards after contact, but Morris really excels at setting up blockers by pressing the hole until the last second and then making decisive cuts. He consistently gives his blockers extra time to seal their defenders, creating excellent running lanes.

Connections: FS Madieu Williams played with Minnesota from 2008-10. CB Cedric Griffin started 70 games in six seasons with Minnesota before signing with Washington in the offseason. The Vikings selected him in the second round in 2006. Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave played under coach Mike Shanahan in both San Francisco (when he was a coordinator) and in Denver (when he was a head coach).

Stat you should know: The Redskins have been terrible on third downs, converting just 14 of 60 into first downs. The problem? They’ve faced third-and-7 or longer on 38 of those third downs. Griffin III doesn’t throw interceptions in part because he doesn’t force the ball on these downs. He’s 21 of 34 on third down, but his 5.59 yards per attempt suggests numerous checkdowns. On third-and-7 or more, he’s 14 of 22 with two first downs.

Looking ahead: After consecutive home games, the Redskins hit the road the next two weeks, at NFC East rival New York and then at struggling Pittsburgh before a home game vs. Carolina. It’s time for the Redskins to quit talking about being a better team and start showing it on the field.

Prediction: Redskins 23, Vikings 20

John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner. Follow him on Twitter @CBSRedskins and @John_Keim.