Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 26, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Cincinnati Bengals in London.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1 pm; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences, player availability after practice approx. 3 pm
—Days until: Vikings @ Redskins 18; Packers @ Redskins 25; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 29
First look at Redskins vs Bengals
—You can’t talk about this game without talking about the venue so let’s do that first. The Redskins are trying to keep things as normal as possible this week. They will conduct their Wednesday and Thursday practices as usual, at 1 pm at Redskins Park. They will get on the plane after practice on Thursday and take what your typical business traveler would call the red eye to London, landing at about 7 am British Summer Time on Friday. They have a 1:30 p.m. practice at the Twyford Ave. Sports Ground and then a community event with local children after that. Then it’s the normal walk through and meetings on Saturday and the game on Monday.
—Will Blackmon, who had played a London game with the Jaguars, said that the Wembley Stadium turf, which is make for soccer, is thicker and a bit taller than what you find in American football stadiums. That means it will be a little slower going than usual but everyone is on the same surface so it shouldn’t make a big difference.
—The Bengals move the ball pretty well (4th in yards gained) but they don’t do much when it comes to scoring (28th in points scored). I suspect that the reason they spin their wheels is that they convert third downs at a 34 percent clip (28th) and convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns just 43 percent of the time (28th). That’s not exactly a model of efficiency.
—Up until this year the Bengals had a solid trio of receivers in A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, and Marvin Jones, but Jones and Sanu left in free agency. Green is still terrific, on pace to catch 114 passes for 1,770 yards. Rookie Tyler Boyd and veteran Brandon LaFell are not picking up the slack for the departed Jones and Sanu. Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert finally got off of the injury list and made his season debut on Sunday against the Browns. He got his feet wet with one catch for nine yards. Eifert missed a lot of time on the sideline and it will be a while before he gets fully back into the swing of things.
—The Cincinnati defense that was seventh in rushing yards allowed a year ago is now 24th. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are getting it done on the line still but Cincinnati has given up 180 yards on the ground twice in the last three weeks including last Sunday against the Browns.
—Andy Dalton, quite possibly the most scrutinized quarterback who has taken his team to five playoff appearances in his first five years in the league, is having another solid year. He’s completing 67.5 percent of his passes for 8.4 yards per attempt and he has thrown just two interceptions all year. But he has been sacked 22 times and he has thrown just eight touchdown passes.
—The Bengals are perhaps more desperate than the Redskins. They are 3-4 and going into their bye at 3-5 would dim their hopes of a sixth straight playoff appearance considerably. Fortunately, they are just a game behind the division leaders, the 3-4 Steelers. Pittsburgh is on a bye this week so the Bengals will either emerge from Sunday a half a game out of first place or a game and a half back.
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Live with Ryan Kerrigan, delivered by Paisano's Pizza
Rich Tandler is talking live with Ryan Kerrigan at Paisano's Pizza and taking your questions ahead of the Washington Redskins' trip across the pond to take on the Bengals.Posted by NBC Sports Washington on Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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