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Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Though the Redskins sit just a game below .500, things are getting desperate if Washington wants to make the playoffs. Winning in New Orleans is hard, but it's a necessary evil for a Wild Card spot. 

The Saints have won seven straight. Seriously, the Saints are on a longer win-streak than the Redskins have wins. New Orleans hasn't lost since the Nats were still a viable option to win the 2017 World Series. 

It's no fluke either. For years now Drew Brees and the Saints offense has been productive, but this year, the New Orleans defense is more than capable. 

RELATED: FIVE REDSKINS UNDER PRESSURE AGAINST SAINTS

Winning on Sunday will be a tall order for the Redskins, but should they accomplish the task, here are three areas to watch:

  1. Wrong side - At 4-5, the Redskins are on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to the playoff picture. While in past years, some teams could sneak into the final Wild Card spot at nine wins, that does not appear to be the case in 2017. Six teams are ahead of the Redskins in the Wild Card chase, and all of those teams have at least five wins. Yes, Washington has an advantageous final six games of the schedule, but with a loss in New Orleans, getting to 10 wins would require the Redskins to run the table down the stretch. That leaves no margin for error for a team with a recent, and not so recent, history of inconsistent play. 
  2. Run for your life - The Saints have not one, but two running backs averaging more than 4.5 yards-per-carry. Mark Ingram is the bell cow for this team, and he has rushed for 614 yards in seven starts. Rookie Alvin Kamara has another 417 yards on the ground. The entire Redskins offense has rushed for 870 yards. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson after Week 4, New Orleans has not had less than 100 yards rushing. Last week in Buffalo, the Saints posted 298 yards on the ground. In their last four games, the Redskins have rushed for 256 yards. The Redskins defense has given up at least 100 yards on the ground in each of their last four games. 
  3. So you're saying... - There is a chance. Don't count out the Redskins yet. Remember, this team won games both in Seattle and in Los Angeles, against two of the best teams in the NFC. Further, the Saints have been committing plenty of turnovers, but largely, their opponents haven't made them pay. (Listen to Saints analyst Deuce McAllister in the video above). If the Redskins can run the ball at a decent rate, Kirk Cousins protects the ball and gets the offense into the end zone, Washington could pull off another road upset. Winning eight games in a row is very hard in the NFL.

Quote of the Week: "We know that we don’t have a lot of margin for error right now. We have to go in there and play our best football. Knowing we’ve won on the road is great. We’ve played well on the road, which is great, but going out and doing it again is a different story," Redskins coach Jay Gruden on the team's success away from FedEx Field this season.

 RELATED: WEEK 10 NFL POWER RANKINGS

News & Notes

  • Vernon Davis needs three TD catches to pass former Redskins great Jerry Smith for sixth on the list of career touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
  • Kirk Cousins ranks sixth among NFL quarterbacks with three rushing touchdowns. Cousins ranks 12th among QBs with 130 rush yards.
  • With 1.5 sacks, Ryan Kerrigan  will join join Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of a career since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.
  • The Redskins hold a 9-3 all-time record playing in the Superdome. 
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (96).
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (494).

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Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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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.

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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

For whatever reason, a vocal subset of Redskins fans do not want quarterback Kirk Cousins to return in 2018. That group got an ugly reality check on Sunday.

Cousins' performance was not particularly great (18 of 26 for 196 yards and two TDs), but on the other side of the football came an actually bad performance. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 41 times for the Cardinals, completing just 16 passes, and the Arizona offense did not score a single touchdown. In fact, with Gabbert at the helm, Arizona hasn't scored a TD in two weeks. 

The debate about Cousins no longer seems to be about his ability. It's clear he's an NFL starting caliber quarterback. That can't be argued.

The debate about Cousins comes from his value. He will undoubtedly be overpaid in the coming offseason, whether that's on a $34 million franchise tag or a lucrative long-term deal. 

Cousins is not the best passer in the NFL, but for a brief period of time, it seems likely he will be the highest paid passer in the NFL. 

That's not Cousins' fault. Market economics dictate that; for those that are upset, take it up with 18th-century author Adam Smith. 

Back to Gabbert.

Some Redskins fans suggest the team could get much of Cousins production at a fraction of the price if they went with a less costly QB option in 2018. That might be true, but it's also a significant gamble. 

Washington backup QB Colt McCoy is better than Gabbert and would be a better option. Lots of QBs are better than Gabbert. The larger point goes to disprove the theory that there isn't risk in letting somebody like Cousins walk. 

RELATED: REDSKINS MAKE MOST OF 'MEANINGLESS' GAME

Names will pop up about potential replacements for Cousins, guys that would carry a much lesser price tag. Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor are two that pop to mind. 

Those options might be reasonable, but neither Dalton or Taylor are as good as Cousins. Look at the stats from the last three years, since Cousins was named starter. They just aren't.

And, if Cousins again chooses not to enter into long-term negotiations with the Redskins, the organization should look at drafting a passer. The team needs to look at its long-term future, that's only fair. 

The notion, however, that any QB out there could come in and help the Redskins needs to be dispelled. 

Gabbert disproved that by himself on Sunday.  

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!