Edi-torial: Saints can join exclusive 2018 NFL club with win over Redskins

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 19: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints jumps runs the ball in for a touchdown during a game against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Redskins 34-31. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

After next week’s bye, the Saints have a very tough stretch of games upcoming.

Two road games, at Baltimore and Minnesota, end the month of October.

The Saints are home against the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams, then play at 4-1 Cincinnati.

But, the Saints can’t overlook the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

The Redskins are first in the NFL in points allowed per game, 14.7. And, Washington is first in passing yards allowed at 187.3 per game.

Washington is also near the top of the NFL in time of possession at 33 and a half minutes per game.

The Redskins have adopted a new look since acquiring quarterback Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

When the trade was completed, the headline at usatoday.com wasn’t very complimentary to Smith or the Redskins.

“Redskins get fleeced in Alex Smith trade,” declared the website.

Not so fast.

Smith’s record as a starter at Kansas City was 50 wins, 26 losses.

Smith has thrown 4 touchdown passes this season, only one interception.

Since he arrived in Kansas in 2013, Alex Smith has made a living avoiding big mistakes.

In 5 seasons as a starter in KC, and three games in Washington, Smith has thrown 33 interceptions in his last 79 regular season starts.

In Kansas City in 2017, Smith threw only 5 interceptions in 505 pass attempts.

The Redskins will have plenty of motivation on Monday night.

In 2017, the Saints recorded their most dramatic win of the season against Washington, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game, and winning with a field goal in overtime.

Running back Adrian Peterson, who was the third wheel here last season, before being traded to Arizona, returns as the Redskins’ leading rusher.

The Saints will have several edges. Running back Mark Ingram returns after a four game suspension to start the season.

The Saints are home in the Superdome,  where they have won 8 of their last 9 regular season games.

Against the Giants last Sunday, the Saints resembled their 2017 club.

New Orleans ran the football effectively, and got a monster game on defense from linebacker Demario Davis. Davis recorded 11 tackles, and two quarterbacks sacks.

The Saints were able to win without a big game from quarterback Drew Brees (18 of 32 passing, 217 yards, no TD’s, no interceptions). Brees needs 201 passing yards Monday night to pass Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader.

The game will feature strength against strength, the Saints offense against the Washington defense.

But, the deciding matchup might be the Saints defense against the Washington offense.

The Saints are favored by six points.

A victory sends New Orleans to the bye week with a 4-1 record.

If the Saints win, New Orleans will be only one of four NFL teams to have at least 4 victories this season.