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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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The next time Jonathan Allen plays for the Redskins will be next year, and that's the right move

The next time Jonathan Allen plays for the Redskins will be next year, and that's the right move

When Jonathan Allen first suffered his Lisfranc injury back in Week 6, there was a belief that the Redskins' first-round pick could return to the team in late December to help with a playoff push or gain more on-field experience.

But now that there is no playoff push to be had and only two games remaining on the schedule, Jay Gruden and the organization have decided that Allen will not see meaningful snaps again until next season.

"I don’t think we’re going to do anything with Jonathan," the head coach said Monday in Ashburn after Washington beat Arizona in Week 15. "I think by the time he gets back out to practice and gets in shape, I think the season will be over. He’s in good shape, but I think in football shape is a little bit different and we’ll probably just get him ready for the OTAs."

The move is absolutely the right one to make here. If the Burgundy and Gold still had four or five contests to play, they could get No. 95 back into all-important football shape and allow him to get valuable regular season reps in their final few matchups.

MORE: THE REDSKINS' ISSUES ARE BEGINNING TO HURT COUSINS' STATS

But the rehab from his foot injury — an injury that can linger and one that affects athletes in various ways — hasn't progressed at a fast enough pace for him to ease himself into a return. And with the organization this close to 2017's finish line, it's best not to rush him or force a comeback with what looks like a defensive building block.

Since Allen's departure from the starting lineup, the 'Skins defense has taken more than a few steps backward. He isn't the only person coordinator Greg Manusky is missing, of course, and his individual numbers weren't huge, but Allen was like a key part of a car engine: You may not have much of an idea of how crucial he is when he's suiting up, but the second he stops, you'll find out quickly how necessary he is. 

"He was off to a good start, really," Gruden said of the ex-Alabama lineman. "I think his strength at the point of attack was outstanding, his ability to play the run was good and then we used him in nickel situations also, which he was pushing the pocket extremely well. Sack production didn’t really tell the story about how productive he was. I think he played very well."

The question with Allen when the Redskins drafted him was never his ability to play. Rather, it was his ability to stay healthy. As he heads into his first offseason as a pro, he'll look to improve as much as he can when it comes to the latter. And the Redskins are smart in letting him focus on that immediately.

RELATED: SUNDAY WAS AN UGLY LOOK INTO THE Q.B. ABYSS

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How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

Kirk Cousins just did something he has never done before, and it’s not something good.

The Redskins quarterback passed for 196 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday.

That comes on the heels of a 151-yard passing performance against the Chargers. This marks the first time that Cousins has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in consecutive games since he was named the starting quarterback just before the start of the 2015 season.

The closest he has come to posting sub-200 yard games before came in his first two games as the starter, when he threw for 196 against the Dolphins and 203 against the Rams the next week.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Cousins has finished with fewer than 200 yards in seven games in the last three years, but there should be an asterisk next to one of those games. In the meaningless 2015 season finale in Dallas, he threw for 176 yards before departing the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Cousins’ lack of yardage in a given game does not necessarily spell doom for his team. The Redskins are 4-3 in Cousins’ “off” games, including 1-1 in the last two weeks.

What has the issue been with Cousins the last couple of weeks?

Against the Chargers, he was off-target on some basic throws, and the offense never got going. In the Cardinals game, he was more accurate, completing 69 percent of his passes. But he kept his throws short as the Redskins got up 14-3 in the second quarter, and they were not aggressive on offense.

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

But in both games, what was showing was the lack of offensive talent Cousins has around him due to injuries and free agency. Against the Cardinals, he was operating with just two of the Week 1 starters on the offensive line. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed did not play in either game. This season's replacements for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon — the two 1000-yard receivers who departed as free agents — have not been adequate. Chris Thompson, Cousins’ security blanket, has been on injured reserve for a few weeks.

The replacements have been playing hard, and they have made a few plays. But consistency is the key, and the substitutes haven’t been able to provide it. Cousins has had four games with more than 300 yards passing this year, but given the current state of things, it would be surprising if he got another one of those this year.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.