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Need to Know: Final look at Redskins-Vikings—A tough task for fill-in LT Nsekhe


Need to Know: Final look at Redskins-Vikings—A tough task for fill-in LT Nsekhe

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 13, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field. Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Vikings 1 pm, FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 11; Redskins @ Cardinals 21; Redskins @ Eagles 28

Injuries of note: Doubtful: WR Jackson (shoulder) Questionable: OT Moses (ankle), S Blackmon (thumb), S Ihenacho (concussion) Final injury report Line: Redskins -3 Referee: Pete Morelli, last Redskins game worked was 34-20 loss @ NY Jets in 2015 Weather forecast: Sunny, light winds, high of 61 Final thoughts on Redskins vs Vikings Viking to watch—Last week WR Stefon Diggs caught 13 passes against the Lions. That was an impressive performance but he gained only 80 yards, 6.1 yards per attempt. New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur apparently decided that since the Vikings can’t run the ball (see below) they would use the short passes to Diggs to replace some of the yards don’t get on the ground. It didn’t really work, as the Vikings scored just 16 points against the Lions and lost in overtime. What Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland need to be careful of is missing a tackle on one of those short Diggs receptions and having him turn it into a big play. Surprising number—I’ve mentioned this a couple of times this week but the Vikings average just 2.7 yards per carry. That’s the worst in the NFL by a full half yard. They haven’t had Adrian Peterson since Week 2 but he was averaging just 1.6 yards on 31 carries before exiting with a knee injury. The average back could stand at the line of scrimmage, fall down while extending the ball out over his head, and gain 2.7 yards. Dangerous matchup—Everson Griffen is the Vikings’ leading sacker with six; he has both of the sacks the team has had in its last three games. Griffen will be lined up opposite Ty Nsekhe most of the game. Obviously that’s a big test for Trent Williams’ substitute right off the bat. Redskins receivers may take some time to get open against a good group of Minnesota DBs and Kirk Cousins will need to stay upright for the passing game to move. There is a lot of faith in Nsekhe’s ability to get the job done but that faith could be tested during the course of the afternoon. Offensive shuffling—Cousins and the offense will have to get it done without their Pro Bowl left tackle and their fastest receiver in DeSean Jackson, who is listed as doubtful but will not play with a shoulder injury. They also are giving the starting job at running back to an undrafted rookie in Rob Kelley. The offense has been cruising along this year until they hit the red zone. The outcome of this game and their success in the remaining half of the season is likely to hinge on whether or not they can get those red zone problems solved. Prediction—I hate to break it down to such simple and obvious terms but this game will come down to turnovers. The Vikings had a ridiculous 12-1 turnover margin when they were 5-0. Since then it’s 5-4 in their favor and they are 0-3. The Redskins need to protect the ball. Cousins can’t have that head-scratching interception he tends to throw out there every once in a while. Kelley needs to continue to have an iron grip on the ball. Even if they do manage to hold on to the ball, this will be a tough slog, The Vikings lead the NFL in scoring defense and they haven’t been slumping because they have been giving up a ton of points. The Redskins will find a way but it won’t be pretty. Redskins 16, Vikings 13 Tandler on Twitter

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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.