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Need to Know: Bye week has not been an advantage for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Bye week has not been an advantage for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 6, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five stats you need to know for Redskins vs. Patriots

—Jay Gruden talked about the need for the Redskins to get off to a fast start against the Patriots. They have been doing that this year, at least defensively. They have allowed 59 first-half points; only five other teams have allowed fewer. The Redskins have outscored the opposition in the first half 73-59 (it should be noted that the first-half margin was much more impressive before their last game, when the Bucs outscored them 24-7).

—Kirk Cousins has completed 184 passes, the most in team history through seven games. Robert Griffin III had the second most, with 158 in 2013. By comparison, Tom Brady has 199 completions so far this year. Cousins’ eight interceptions are the same number that Griffin had through seven games in 2013. Twenty-four Redskins quarterbacks have had seven or more interceptions through seven games.

—There is plenty of talk that the Redskins will have to be able to run the ball to stay competitive with the Patriots. They had better improve over what they have done in their last three games. In that span, the Redskins have 135 yards on the ground. That is the third-fewest rushing yards over a three-game stretch in team history. Only in September-October of 1994 (127) and November of 1944 (104) have they gained fewer over three games.

—So, how about some big plays to hit the Patriots with a little bit of shock and awe? Last year through seven games they had 10 plays that gained 40 yards or more. This year they have two, a 42-yard Chris Thompson run and a 43-yard pass from Cousins to Rashad Ross. Both of those plays came in one game, against the Eagles. The good news is that six of 2014 big plays were to DeSean Jackson, who should play on Sunday for the first time since early in the season opener.

—The bye week has not been good for the Redskins of late. Since 2008 they have gone 1-6 after getting a week off, a .143 winning percentage. Their only win in that time came in 2012 and it was the start of a seven-game winning streak that got the team to its last playoff appearance.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:00

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 2; Saints @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Panthers 16

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.