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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 15, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 9; Redskins @ Cardinals 19; Redskins @ Eagles 26

Injuries of note:
Moses (ankle), day to day
Jackson (shoulder), per Gruden "in play" for the Packers game
Monday injury report

Last look at Redskins vs. Vikings

Stat that stood out: The Vikings came into the game averaging just 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. I pointed this out a few times during the week, also saying that the Vikings would be looking to fatten up this average against the weak Redskins run D. But on Sunday Minnesota had 22 carries for 47 yards, an average of 2.2 yards per attempt. The key was that the Redskins had five tackles for a loss on running plays for a total of minus-13 yards.

Under the radar play of the game: The game was tied 20-20 with 12:54 left to play. After a punt the Redskins were backed up at their own eight yard line. On first down, Rob Kelley took a handoff and headed up the middle, zigging and zagging and evading tackles until he had gained 21 yards to the 29. Two Kirk Cousins passes later the Redskins were at the Viking 40. They needed to get just a little closer to get into range for Dustin Hopkins’ go-ahead 50-yard field goal. Kelley’s run gave them the breathing room they needed to make it happen

Unsung hero: Strong safety Donte Whitner played every snap and he had eight tackles. He didn’t make any of the highlight plays that prompted him to talk about changing his last name to “Hitner” but it was a solid, steady performance.

Snap count snapshot: With Whitner playing every snap (67), Duke Ihenacho (31) and Will Blackmon (33) split the other safety snaps. Su’a Cravens played a season-high 37 snaps. On offense, Ryan Grant played more snaps, 49, than any wide receiver except Pierre Garçon (51).

Potpourri:  The Vikings’ last TD came on a gutsy call by Mike Zimmer. He showed faith in Sam Bradford by having him run a play starting with five seconds on the clock. If they didn’t score a touchdown it’s likely that the clock would have run out before they could even try a field goal . . . I wouldn’t give up a first-round pick for Sam Bradford. Or a second. Or anything higher than a bag of underinflated footballs. He has some skills but being a winner isn’t one of them . . . Ty Nsekhe was ready for his opportunity; he did a very good job in place of the suspended Trent Williams . . . Maurice Harris played only eight snaps but he made the most of them with three receptions, two of them for first downs . . . Would some fans had been happier if the Redskins had given up one touchdown in the first, second, and fourth quarters instead of three in the second? I may be off here but giving up 20 points is giving up 20 points and that gives you a very good chance to win.

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 21, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 11:45 a.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 9
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 19
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 26

Quantifying the problem with giving up late points:

Anyone who has watched the Redskins this year knows that they have had problems keeping other teams from scoring points late in the first half and at the end of the game. How bad is the problem? Let’s look at the numbers.

The Redskins have given up 266 points on the season. That’s 31st in the NFL. Of those points, 96 have been scored in last three minutes of the first and second halves. Opponents have put up 12 touchdowns, eight one-point conversions, two two-point conversions, and four field goals.

For comparison, the average NFL team has given up around 40 points near the end of each half. Looking at defensive scores allowed only (two of the late touchdowns against Washington were on returns), the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns while no other team has allowed more than seven. The average is 3.96 touchdowns given up late by each team.

You can look at it this way. In the first 27 minutes of each half of their 10 games, the Redskins have given up 170 points, or about .31 points per minute. In the other six minutes of the games, the final three of each half, the Redskins give up 1.6 points per minute played.

How have the Redskins done scoring points late in each half? They have put up five touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 44 points.

How does this affect the big picture? On the season, the Redskins’ net point differential is minus-28. If you take out the late scores, they are at plus-24. It usually works out that the teams that have positive point differentials have winning records and those with negative performances are under .500.

We saw that big picture up close on Sunday. At the end of the first half, it looked like the Redskins were going to get at least a field goal as they had a nice drive going. But the drive stalled, a false start forced them to abandon even a field goal try and the Saints put together a quick drive for a field goal as time in the half ran out. Then, of course, there was the touchdown and tying two-point conversion with just over a minute left in regulation. That’s minus-10 in the last three minutes of a game they lost in overtime.

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: The NFC is much better than the AFC through 11 weeks

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: The NFC is much better than the AFC through 11 weeks

Through 11 weeks, the NFL's playoff picture is far from clear. But one thing is: The NFC is the superior conference. 

And that's not just because Nathan Peterman plays in the AFC.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S NEW POWER RANKINGS CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE

In this week's rankings, seven teams in the top 10 come from the NFC. The middle and back-end of the rankings even out, but at the top, one side of the league is stronger than the other.

The bottom line is that a few deserving squads in the NFC will miss out on the postseason. Meanwhile, in the opposite conference, a couple of mediocre ones will be playing in January.

To see who lands where overall in the post-Week 11 breakdown, click the link above or below. You know who No. 32 is, but there was plenty of movement in the other 31 spots.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S NEW POWER RANKINGS CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE