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Inside the Numbers: Can the Redskins pass on the Packers?


Inside the Numbers: Can the Redskins pass on the Packers?

The Washington Redskins true identity revealed itself over the team's last four games. Behind Kirk Cousins and a number of offensive weapons, Jay Gruden's Redskins emerged as a pass-first team, and the results were impressive.

In his last four games, Cousins passed for more than 1,100 yards, and that's sitting out the second half of a Week 17 win over Dallas. Coincidentally, Washington comes into the playoffs winners of four in a row and the offense looks dynamic. Jordan Reed teamed with a healthy DeSean Jackson gives defenses fits, where secondaries are forced to try and slow the tight end or protect against Jackson's vertical threat. Pierre Garçon and Jamison Crowder are more than effective in the slot and possession game. 

In a town that loves the run game and big offensive linemen, somehow, Gruden and Cousins have turned the Redskins into a high-octane passing offense. Gruden, Cousins and offensive coordinator Sean McVay deserve credit for moving the offense towards the pass, especially as the run game slumbered for much of the season.


But regular season success means little now as the 'Skins get ready to host the Packers in a Wild Card round playoff game. Green Bay's defense has been effective against the pass all season, ranking No. 6 in the NFL in both pass yards allowed and passing TDs allowed. That could be a problem for Washington.

The Pack can also get to the quarterback, as the team combined for 43 sacks this season. Julius Peppers led the team with 10.5 sacks and Clay Matthews added another 6.5. Playmaking safety HaHa Clinton-Dix chipped in three sacks to go with two interceptions. 

The matchup between Cousins and the Packers secondary should be quite interesting to watch, as injuries have forced Green Bay to turn to some backups which the Redskins QB should be able to exploit. In their Week 17 loss to Minnesota, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater missed some opportunities to put the Packers away early. Cousins has been so accurate over his last three games, it's hard to imagine he will have similar misses. 

The 2015 stats show the Packers as one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, but looking at the last three weeks reveals some cracks. In Week 15 against Derek Carr, the Raiders passed for more than 250 yards, and in Week 16 vs Arizona, Carson Palmer torched the Packers. 

NFL wisdom suggests the last month of the season better tells the story of a playoff team than the three months prior. If that's the case, Cousins and the Redskins should be able to attack the Packers through the air. Though it would be foolish to discount Green Bay, a recent Super Bowl champion, due to a few bad weeks.

Can the 'Skins pass on the Pack? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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