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Need to Know: Five final Redskins-Vikings observations

Need to Know: Five final Redskins-Vikings observations

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 2, 14 days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.

Five final Redskins vs. Vikings thoughts

—The thing I’ll be looking for right off the bat is to see how long it takes for Robert Griffin III to connect with DeSean Jackson deep. In the season opener, Griffin completed eight passes to Jackson but for only 62 yards. Before being sidelined with the ankle injury in the second game Griffin went deep to Jackson but the pass was ruled incomplete on a borderline call by the officials. The sooner the Redskins’ two main offensive weapons connect deep, the better the team’s chances of winning.

—If the Redskins don’t win, injuries will not be an excuse. For the first time this year, all 53 players on the roster are likely to be available. To be sure, Brian Orakpo is lost for the season and Barry Cofield has to be out one more game on the injured reserve/designated for return list. But right now they are among the healthiest teams in the NFL.

—The mental element is always a factor but it’s particularly important for the Redskins in this game. By their own admission, many on this team have viewed close losses against good teams as a notable accomplishment so you have to wonder how they will process an actual win over a 6-1 team. As a group they seemed to be very loose this week. Add in the short week with trips a time zone over on both ends and you have the possibility of a team that will come out flat.

—Although I predicted that the Redskins will lose, the game is basically a coin flip. The ELO ratings on the FiveThirtyEight.com site disagree with that assessment. They have the Vikings favored by 5.5 points and say that Minnesota has a 68 percent chance of winning. I don’t see what the Vikings have done this year to warrant being such a solid favorite over anyone. They have a rookie quarterback and their wins are over the Rams (2-5), Falcons (2-6), and Bucs (1-6). The Redskins aren’t a powerhouse by any means but the Vikings have not beaten a team as good as them all year.

—With Adrian Peterson having played just one game as he focuses on his legal issues, the Vikings have relied on two players to take his place. Early in the season it was veteran Matt Asiata carrying the workload but he’s had six or fewer carries in each of the last three games. Now the main man is rookie Jerik McKinnon, who has 10 or more carries in four of the last five games. McKinnon is not All Day but he is averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Vikings, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ 49ers 21; Redskins @ Colts 28

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS 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 NFL.com, 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, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.