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Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 15, 13 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 96 days ago. It will be 150 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 3; 2016 NFL draft 13; Redskins training camp starts 104

Hot topic

The NFL released the 2016 schedule last night and now it’s time for my annual foolish endeavor. Even though it’s difficult to pick the winner of an NFL game five minutes before kickoff, I’m going to try to pick the winners of each of the Redskins’ games right now, almost five months before the first one kicks off. Here we go:

Week 1—Steelers 24, @Redskins 20 I’m not sure that the Steelers fans will take over FedEx Field to the extent that they did in 2008 but the Redskins had better be ready with their silent counts just in case the Terrible Towels get rolling. A tough opener against Big Ben and company. (0-1)

Week 2—@Redskins 24, Cowboys 21 I’m not so sure the Redskins will have revenge for their 2015 home loss to Dallas on the top of their minds but any motivation will help. The visitors should have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant at full strength so the Redskins had better have an improved defense. (1-1)

Week 3—@Giants 17, Redskins 14 Are they good enough to win in the Meadowlands yet? They went to MetLife in Week 3 last year feeling pretty confident and they got beaten pretty soundly. Big test but I don’t think they are there yet. (1-2)

Week 4—@Redskins 34, Browns 17 RG3 or not RG3? The NFL may have waited a week or two too long for this one if they want to have Griffin returning to his former field of glory. We’ll know a lot more in a couple of weeks when we see if and when the Browns draft a quarterback. (2-2)

Week 5—@Ravens 24, Redskins 21 The Ravens will be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year. Were their problems last year injury related or have they taken a step back that will take a year or two to recover from? If they’re even part of the way back they will be tough to beat at home. (2-3)

Week 6—@Redskins 20, Eagles 10 They have a new head coach, an unsettled situation at quarterback, and some other issues. They have the look of a 6-10 team and the Redskins should be able to handle them at home. (3-3)

Week 7—Redskins 30, @ Lions 13 The Redskins get that first road win of the year before December this time around. With no Calvin Johnson, the Lions are rebuilding as they have been since 1956. (4-3)

Week 8—Redskins 24, Bengals 20 (London) A week after their road breakthrough they go across the Atlantic and beat a team that will finish the season with a winning record. The Redskins have a much stronger fan base in the UK and it should resemble a home game in terms of crowd noise. (5-3)

Week 9—Bye Right smack in the middle of the schedule.

Week 10—Vikings 24, @ Redskins 17 There will be plenty of reasons to think that the Redskins will win this one, at home, on a three-game winning streak, and coming off of the bye. Sounds like a trap. (5-4)

Week 11—@ Redskins 35, Packers 31 Right after they lose one you think they should win they do the opposite. (6-4)

Week 12—@ Cowboys 28, Redskins 20 Maybe they can play Sunday night, prepare for two days, get on a plane to Dallas, and beat the Cowboys. But it’s hard for me to see it. (6-5)

Week 13—@Cardinals 31, Redskins 30 We’re in December now and who knows who will be healthy for either team by then. (6-6)

Week 14—Redskins 27, @Eagles 10 The Redskins score their second consecutive sweep of their division rivals. (7-6)

Week 15—Panthers 28, @ Redskins 21 I think the Redskins will have closed the gap with the Panthers and they will have home field advantage but I still don’t think the home team will quite be ready for prime time. (7-7)

Week 16—@ Bears 17, Redskins 14 The Bears will be better under John Fox. The Redskins had a couple of breaks go their way and escaped with a win at Soldier Field last December. I think the breaks will even out in December of 2016 and the Bears will get the win (7-8)

Week 17—@ Redskins 35, Giants 21 The Redskins go in needing three other teams to lose to have a shot at the playoffs. The do their part but they don’t get in. (8-8)

In case you missed it

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

 

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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.