Christmas Eve might be the time to revel with friends and family, but for the Redskins, it's time for football. Washington welcomes the Denver Broncos to town on Sunday, and neither side has much of anything at stake.
The 6-8 Redskins' playoff chances ended weeks ago, and the same for the 5-9 Broncos. That doesn't mean the players won't go hard and the coaches won't focus on winning. Remember, football is not a game that can be played at half speed.
For Washington to win, the team needs to play a similar game to last weekend's victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Here's the deep dive:
- That's my quarterback - Most Redskins fans hate that Sunday could be Kirk Cousins' final home game wearing Burgundy and Gold, but that's the reality. The situation isn't new, Cousins is now playing on his third one-year deal in a row. Still, this could be the end at FedEx Field, and it's entirely possible the Broncos will be scouting. Denver has one of the top defenses in the NFL led by Von Miller, and an offense with good skill position players, particularly WR Demaryius Thomas. What do the Broncos need? A quarterback. If Cousins hits the open market, which is no guarantee, John Elway might have his Denver organization poised to make a run at the Redskins franchise record holder for passing yards in a season.
- Do it again - Last week the Redskins beat a Cardinals team with a strong defense and a terrible offense. The Broncos come in with similar bonafides. Denver gives up the least yards in the NFL, while their offense ranks 24th in the league in points scored. Whatever quarterback starts for the Broncos, Paxton Lynch or Brock Osweiler, neither will be much of a threat. Osweiler played well last week in a win over the Colts, but the larger track record points to turnovers and inaccuracy. Denver comes into this game winners of two straight, and perhaps, with some momentum.
- No special gifts - It's been a tough season for the Redskins special teams. Perhaps that was best illustrated last week against Arizona when a kickoff landed short and the Cardinals recovered the ball. Not an onside kick, an actual kickoff. The simplest rule of special teams is to understand a kickoff is a live football and must be handled. That's a Football 101 mistake, and while the ball took an absurd bounce, it simply cannot happen.
Quote of the Week: Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, asked about Kirk Cousins:
He's an elite quarterback.
News & Notes:
- If the Redskins win on Sunday they will end the season with a 5-3 record at FedEx Field, just their sixth winning home record since 2000.
- If Ryan Kerrigan records a sack on Sunday, that will mark back-to-back 10-sack seasons, the first time in his career.
- Kirk Cousins has thrown for less than 200 yards passing in consecutive games, which had never previously occurred since he became starter in 2015.
- With four receptions, Vernon Davis will pass Jeremy Shockey for ninth place all-time among NFL tight ends.
- Redskins have the opportunity for their first back-to-back wins since Weeks 2 and 3.
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The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.
We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.
Now we know the when.
Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated:
Week 1 9/9 @ Cardinals (4:05)
Week 2 9/16 Colts
Week 3 9/23 Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 10/8 (Mon.) @Saints (8:15)
Week 6 10/14 Panthers
Week 7 10/21 Cowboys (4:25)
Week 8 10/28 @Giants
Week 9 11/4 Falcons
Week 10 11/11 @Bucs
Week 11 11/18 Texans
Week 12 11/22 (Thanksgiving) @Cowboys (4:30)
Week 13 12/3 (Mon.) @Eagles (8:15)
Week 14 12/9 Giants
Week 15 12/16 @Jaguars
Week 16 12/23 @Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 12/30 Eagles
The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home.
Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger. 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 the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.
2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:
- If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year.
- The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
- They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4.
- On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS
The Washington Redskins are playing on Thanksgiving ... again.
With the 2018 NFL regular-season schedule set for an official release on Thursday night, news has begun to leak on the different dates.
The Redskins will travel to Dallas yet again to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay reports on Thursday afternoon.
The Week 12 showdown will take place on Thursday, Nov. 22 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Last season, the Redskins beat the Giants at home 20-10 to increase their all-time Thanksgiving Day record to a whopping 3-7. That game marked the first time since the 1973 and 1974 seasons that the Redskins' played on Thanksgiving back-to-back years.
The 2018 season marks unchartered territory for the Redskins.
Against non-Cowboys opponents, the Redskins are actually undefeated on Turkey Day. But this showdown will be against their dreaded division rivals who hosted them two seasons ago on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys won that matchup 31-26 with two rushing TDs from Ezekiel Elliot while Jordan Reed caught two TD passes from Kirk Cousins.
The Redskins and Cowboys will meet under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium on November 22. Game time to be determined.
RELATED: PROJECTING THE REDSKINS 2018 SCHEDULE