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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Chiefs

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Chiefs

KANSAS CITY—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 2, 13 days before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs Chiefs 8:30 ESPN  

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 22
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 28
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 34

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Chiefs  

—The term “statement game” gets overused but I think that it fits tonight. Certainly, there are many who remain skeptical about the Redskins following their rout of the Raiders. And given the team’s inconsistent past, a healthy degree of skepticism is warranted. But should they pull off the upset tonight they would have to be considered as one of the teams to be reckoned with in the NFL.

—Chris Thompson may need to be an equalizer tonight. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt has touchdown runs of longer than 50 yards in each of his first three games. While the hope is that the Washington defense will be able to contain Hunt, the next best way to handle a long touchdown scored by the other team is to get one of your own. Thompson has a 61-yard touchdown run and a 74-yard gain on a screen pass on his ledger this year. He may be needed to provide a reply.

The Redskins’ injury problems are well known but the Chiefs will have a couple of starters out, one on each side of the ball. Center Mitch Morse and outside linebacker Dee Ford will not play tonight. Left tackle Eric Fisher is questionable as he deals with a back problem. The Kansas City offensive line was shaky in pass protection to begin with as Alex Smith has been sacked 12 times this season. The Redskins will look to exploit their protection issues.

—Related to that, this game may come down to whether or not the Redskins defense can make Smith realize that he is Alex Smith. The career 62 percent passer is completing 77 percent of his passes. He has averaged 10 interceptions per 16 games in his 12-year career and he has yet to throw one in 2017. Smith’s career passer rating is a mediocre 86.2. This year it’s an unreal 132.7. By stopping the run and getting pressure on him, the Redskins defense hopes to bring out more of the 2005-2016 Smith and less of what we’ve seen this year.

—On the #RedskinsTalk podcast this week I predicted a Redskins loss. That was taped on Thursday and I’m beginning to swing the other way. The Washington defense will be the difference. They won’t shut the Chiefs down like they did the Raiders last week but they will control them enough to let the Washington offense get some work done against a questionable KC defense. Get ready to be up late and, in contrast to the usual Monday night scenario, celebrate.

Redskins 28, Chiefs 24

Predictons record: 1-2

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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Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 17, six days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 12
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

Last look at Redskins vs. 49ers

—It’s gotten to a point where a Kirk Cousins game where he completes 67 percent of his passes for 330 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, and two touchdowns as he did against the 49ers and it’s just another day, not worthy of any special note. But since 1990, a Redskins quarterback has had a line of at least 67 percent completions for 330 yards or more, 8.9 yards or more per attempt, and two or more touchdown passes just four times. Cousins did it earlier this year against the Raiders and he did it against the Packers last year. Brad Johnson also did it in 1999 against the 49ers. Add in the fact that Cousins led a fourth-quarter rally with two drives that produced 10 fourth-quarter points and that he scored the touchdown himself on a seven-yard read option run and you have a very good game that flew under the radar.

—The 49ers came into the game ranked 31st in third-down conversions on offense and on defense. The Redskins ensured that they will stay near the bottom. Washington hit on 50 percent of its third downs, converting seven of 14. Opponents had success on 47.4 percent coming into the game. Defensively the Redskins allowed six of 17, a 35.3 percent success rate, a little better than the 29.7 percent the Niners offense had going in. The 49ers converted just one of their first eight but after C.J. Beathard came in at quarterback they got rolling, converting five of their last nine.

I thought that Mack Brown might be more of a chance to run the ball with Rob Kelley out but that was before we knew that Chris Thompson was going to be the featured back. In fact, Thompson said that he didn’t know that his workload would go up until the night before the game. Back to Brown, he got two yards on two carries. He came in for a handoff on third and one in the second quarter. Perhaps he would have had a chance to do something but he got no blocking on the right side, particularly from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed. His chance will have to wait for another day.

—Reed had a quiet day receiving with four catches for 37 yards. He confessed to not being 100 percent last week and his average of 7.9 yards per catch on the season speaks to something not being quite right. He did make a couple of key catches, though. After Thompson got tackled for a loss of nine yards on first down, Reed kept the drive alive with receptions good for 10 and 14 yards. That drive ended with Samaje Perine scoring on a three-yard pass reception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 14-0. Still, it would be good to see Reed have a breakout game with something like seven receptions for 95 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

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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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

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USA TODAY Sports

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

Through six weeks of the NFL season, it's clear who the Super Bowl favorites are.

In the AFC, it's, um, well, OK, let's do the NFC first. In the NFC, you have to watch out for — actually, nevermind, this isn't that easy.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Chiefs and Eagles are the only two teams standing at 5-1, but there are quite a few 4-2 squads right behind them, as well as talented 3-win teams who can take any opponent down if they bring their best stuff. That means that as the halfway point approaches, both conferences are still open races.

And those races got a lot more interesting after a fun Week 6. The power rankings look a lot different than they did before the weekend because of Week 6's results, too.

So, click the link above or below to see who's moving up and who's sliding back. Or, in the case of the Browns, who's sliding but staying in the same spot simply because they can't be dropped any further.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS