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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

JERSEY CITY, NJ--Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 31, 73 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff, noon, NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, 1:00, FOX

Days until:

—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 73
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 116
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9/18) 252

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

The Giants are a mess—Their starting right tackle, Bobby Doss, was cut yesterday. Starting left tackle Ereck Flowers has been benched. Both reportedly “checked out” and did not practice on Friday. They also will with without their top two pass catchers. Of course, that refers to the receivers who weren’t already on injured reserve; players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall have long since been on injured reserve. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, who are 1-2 in receiving yards on the Giants this year, have been declared out with injuries. Even Tavarres King, the guy who caught the long pass down the sideline a year ago to set up the game-winning field goal that eliminated the Redskins, is out. That sets up this situation:

It will be hard for Eli Manning to find time to pass and, if he does, find anyone to throw to.

Farewell to Eli, or maybe not—A few weeks ago it looked like Manning was done in New York. But new Giants GM Dave Gettleman has indicated that he might want to keep Manning around next year and beyond. I’ve learned that you never can fully trust what a new GM says since he really hasn’t had a chance to assess his options. So while it might well end up being the end of the line for Eli as a Giant, it’s unlikely that the game will have that feel. 

Redskins will play to win—Every healthy player will be in his usual role. If the Redskins build a significant halftime lead, the coaches may sprinkle in some younger players like Robert Davis, Fabian Moreau and, well, Jeremy Sprinkle. But Jay Gruden is not treating this as a December exhibition game, he wants to win. The feeling around the locker room this week was that winning to finish 8-8 is important to the players as well. 

Keys to winning:

  • The Giants’ rushing defense is 28th in the NFL and they give up 4.2 yards per carry. The last time the Redskins played the Giants was the last time Samaje Perine gained 100 yards in a game. You can put those facts together with the weather forecast, which calls for a high of 18 degrees, and figure out what the Redskins ought to do when they have the ball. 
  • Defensively, the Redskins can’t give them any hope. As noted, the Giants have zero weapons but that doesn’t mean the Redskins can ease up in any way. Remember last year how after Beckham left the game it was King who beat them. As long as they play solid fundamentally and communicate well, the Redskins should be able to keep the Giants out of the end zone. 

Prediction: The Redskins are finishing their season with three straight bad teams (where were these teams earlier in the season when they needed them?). They had to sweat out a final possession to hang on and beat the Cardinals. They started off slowly against the Broncos before pulling away and posting a comfortable win. Things should be even easier today. Perine runs for 125, Cousins gets the three TD passes he needs to get to 30 for the first time in his career, Josh Norman gets his first interception of the year, and the Redskins win easily.

Redskins 28, Giants 6

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 NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 

Road

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs

Home

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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

 

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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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