Redskins

In a rush: Vikings winning their own way

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In a rush: Vikings winning their own way

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have already surpassed most external expectations for this supposed rebuilding season, winning games with a method that defies modern NFL convention.

This is the rare team right now that is stressing the need to become more balanced on offense by throwing the ball more rather than the other way around, but it's not about to apologize for its approach.

Despite Christian Ponder's paltry 58 yards passing, the Vikings were in control of Sunday's 21-14 win over Arizona from start to finish and improved to 5-2. That's more than half of the nine victories they accumulated over the last two years combined.

Thanks to Adrian Peterson's powerful running and a relentless pass rush by the defensive line, the Vikings are playing with momentum and confidence even if they're still struggling to complete the mid-range and long throws down the field.

``However way we do it, you just like to win,'' coach Leslie Frazier said. ``I do believe you want to be a balanced team. You want to be able to throw the ball as well as run the ball effectively, but there are times where something is being taken away you have to be good in other areas. Fortunately for us, we're at a point as a team where we can make up for deficiencies in other areas. There was a time where that would not have been the case. It shows that we're growing.''

Peterson had a season-high 153 yards on 23 carries, his comeback continuing to amaze the Vikings as well as the rest of the league. As long as he's been here, they've naturally been focused on featuring one of the best running backs of his generation, even during Brett Favre's remarkable un-retirement season in 2009.

On the other side, a formidable front seven that can keep the ground game in check and put pressure on the opposing passer has long been a hallmark of the Vikings, too. They tied for the NFL lead with 50 sacks last year even with a 3-13 record.

The twist on this season is the way they've been able to consistently apply an effective pass rush without blitzing. With Jared Allen and Brian Robison leading the way, the Vikings are third in the league with 22 sacks, but they've done it without sacrificing a linebacker, safety or cornerback in their pass coverage. That plus the healthy return of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield and the addition of rookie safety Harrison Smith has resulted in a significantly improved secondary.

The Vikings have rarely been beaten by the long passes that crushed them so often last year or in the seasons before that, limiting Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday just as they did Lions standout Calvin Johnson in a win at Detroit on Sept. 30.

``We really just focus on what we're going to go out and do, and if the offense puts up 40 points, that's great. If they don't, we're still going to try and play the same ball that we know how to play,'' Smith said.

The Vikings sacked Arizona's John Skelton seven times and forced him into two turnovers.

``I've missed a few this season already, so just to get close to him and get him on the ground was huge for me,'' defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. ``Hopefully they come in bunches.''

Interceptions have come in bunches for Ponder lately after going the first four games without one.

``I'm trying to do too many things. I'm getting out of the pocket and trying to force it to happen. I have to be a lot smarter and make better decisions, for sure,'' Ponder said, adding: ``We're definitely relying on our run game, and that's not a bad thing. We just need to keep making progress in the passing game.''

Frazier pinned much of Sunday's struggle on a tricky, tough Cardinals defense. He expressed no concern with Ponder, only confidence in how much more mature and better suited he is to handle the game than during his rookie year.

``I'm convinced of it, seen enough evidence of it in practice, even in games, where he's bounced back from some tough plays,'' Frazier said, ``and his teammates have seen it as well.''

NOTES: Peterson, who has been bothered more by a sprained left ankle than his surgically repaired left knee, was not as sore on Monday as he was a week ago, according to Frazier. ``So that's encouraging. We'll be smart tomorrow and get him ready to go on Thursday,'' the coach said. ... Backup TE John Carlson took a hit to the head and developed concussion-like symptoms and probably won't play against Tampa Bay with only three days to heal.

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

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USA Today Sports Images

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

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NBC Sports Washington

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

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.

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.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
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

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. 
     

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