Alabama is a two-touchdown favorite against Washington in the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Let that sink in. That's how dominant the Crimson Tide have been in 2016, when almost every week they're a double-digit favorite and back it up on the field.

So how do you beat Alabama?

CBS Sports asked that question to one SEC defensive coordinator who played Alabama and one NFL scout who has evaluated Alabama extensively in 2016. They were granted anonymity in order to speak candidly.

These are the keys in their own words.

1. Steal possessions

NFL scout: "If they just go out there and make you drive 70 or 80 yards every time, they're really hard to beat. You've got to create a short field through turnovers. I think you have to steal a possession somewhere along the line, either with a turnover or a surprise onside kick or a fake punt or a return of some kind. You've got to do better than breaking even in special teams. To me, the formula would be special teams score, some sort of short field or defensive score, and two scores by your own offense. If you do that, you're in the game."

SEC coordinator: "If it's a field position game, Alabama is probably going win that kind of game. They just have superior athletes than most teams."

2. Make Alabama QB Jalen Hurts be a passer

SEC coordinator: "We wanted to have a man and a half on him and then in passing situations just keep him in the pocket. You want to know what kind of [defensive] looks he's looking for. Sometimes you show him that look and then give him another coverage or vice versa. That was a big deal for us trying to change it up and it worked for the most part. If they can get the running game going and get ahead of you on the scoreboard and rely on defense, he doesn't really have to force anything. But when it's time for him to make a dynamic play, he can do it."

NFL scout: "You've got to somehow win on first and second down and get them behind the sticks on third-and-7 or more because they do have some inconsistencies in their true drop-back passing game. People are rarely able to get them in that position. No one has really made them throw to beat them or come from behind. Alabama throws the ball down the middle of the field in the red zone, but from the 20 to 20, most of it is all perimeter and jet sweeps. I'm not sure they believe [Hurts] can see between the hash marks. They've left a ton of yards on the field in terms of open receivers.

"To me, this kid has so much room for improvement. His upside is so big. He's got the lower body of a 24-year-old and he's unflappable. You know how Alabama gets to some of these bowl games that really matter to them and they take it another level, like against Notre Dame [in 2012] and Michigan State [in 2015]? To me, Hurts has the potential to do something like that. They could show up against Washington and you don't even recognize the kid's throwing ability because they've got enough practice time to see if they can get that done."

3. Avoid getting tricked by Lane Kiffin

SEC coordinator: "Their plays are their plays. They run sound, fundamental plays. But the window dressing -- the formations, the shifts, the motions -- are the things that's tough for some kids to grasp. They're always doing some sort of unique formation you haven't seen. You've got to understand that the window dressing can't get in the way of playing sound fundamentally.

"Last year, [wide receiver] Calvin Ridley was the focal point. They're doing a really good job getting ArDarius Stewart the ball, some on jet sweeps that give him passing stats that way. They're targeting him and doing some things in their passing concepts to get him open on the deep routes. He's become a legitimate target. This year, I bet it's 50-50 between [Ridley and Stewart]. [Tight end] O.J. Howard is a special, special athlete, special, special player. I don't know why he doesn't get the ball more. He's a big target who can run. He won a national championship for them."

NFL scout: "They don't know how to use [Howard]. He's going to run and work out his way right into the first round and his stats are paltry [37 catches for 445 yards in 2016]. He's got all the physical traits for the NFL -- he's tall, he's athletic, he's fast, he has good hands, he blocks enough. But with Howard, he's in the middle of the field and they don't throw it there much. Most of the plays for him are play-action and throw it to the sideline."

4. Win the mental battle vs. Alabama's defense

SEC coordinator: "Look, that's probably the fastest defense I've seen in a long time, and they can score points on you quickly. You're not playing their defense. You can't try to do too much because that's when the game gets away from you. A couple plays can happen that change the scoreboard when your defense is not even on the field. But you can't look at the score because if you start doing that and the scoreboard changes, you get outside of yourself."

NFL scout: "I don't know if, physically, you can challenge them, but you have to mentally challenge them by moving your formations around. You absolutely have to show things you have not shown. If there's a particular run you've had success with, you've got to have a pass off it. You've got to throw when they think you're running, and you've got to run when they think you're throwing. All of a sudden you're having to go opposite of what you've done all year. But with a whole month to get ready, I can see Chris Petersen doing this.

"If you look at certain segments of the Florida game, Jim McElwain bothered Alabama with some of the stuff they did from formations and protections. They kept [Gators quarterback] Austin Appleby upright. Appleby is nowhere near as accurate as [Washington quarterback] Jake Browning."

5. Hit some deep balls -- if there's time to throw

NFL scout: "Washington takes a deep shot pretty much once a quarter, so if [Huskies wide receiver] John Ross can win half of those 50-50 balls against [Alabama defensive backs] Marlon Humphrey or Anthony Averett and get a trick play or two, maybe they can effectively move the ball. Alabama hasn't faced a distributor like Browning, but Browning hasn't faced a pass rush like these guys, either. Browning wasn't the same guy against USC or Colorado (43 percent passing for 188.5 yards vs. USC and Colorado; 67 percent passing for 263.9 yards in all other games). Those are games where people were in his grill.

"I think Clemson has the best matchup vs. Alabama. The matchups are more difficult on the outside for Alabama's secondary vs. [Clemson receivers] Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and Deion Cain, and [tight end] Jordan Leggett down the middle. If Alabama does beat Washington, if I'm them, my preference is to play Ohio State for the national championship. Their line isn't that good. Their back [Mike Weber] doesn't scare you like Ezekiel Elliott did. I don't think Washington or Ohio State are nearly as much of a threat as Clemson, but I bet Petersen loves, loves, loves the role of being underdog to mighty Alabama."