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Need to Know: Redskins’ Williams not worried about possible rust if rested

Need to Know: Redskins’ Williams not worried about possible rust if rested

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 31, three days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

Five thoughts on the playoff-bound Redskins

—At this point there is really no way of telling when the Redskins will play their first-round playoff game. There are no set criteria for which game is played in which time slot. When the seeds are set or nearly set the league and the networks will get on a conference call and hash it out. The playoff schedule will be announced sometime Sunday evening, perhaps during the Vikings-Packers game.

—It’s really amazing that Quinton Dunbar is out there every week lined up opposite the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, and Jordan Matthews. And nobody is even nervous about it. Per Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks have a 70.1 pass rating when throwing at Dunbar, who came to training camp as a wide receiver. Like most, I figured that he would be a project who would spend the year on the practice squad learning the new position. But when injuries struck the secondary he emerged off of the practice squad and lined up against Beckham.

—Everything I’ve seen makes me think that Kory Lichtensteiger will start at center when the Redskins start the playoffs. All indications are that he is healthy; he will have had 12 weeks off (he last played in Week 5) to rehab his neck injury by the time the playoff game comes around. I’m not sure if he will immediately make a big difference in the Redskins’ run blocking but he probably won’t hurt.

—I think that the issue of playing or resting the starters isn’t of huge concern to the players. “If they need me to play, I’ll be ready,” said Trent Williams. “I get paid to do what [the coach] says.” Williams is not worried about losing momentum if he and some other starters do sit out. “I don’t believe in that,” he said. “We’re all professionals, we’re all grown men. I don’t believe in the whole getting rusty thing . . . In my opinion I don’t think you get rusty sitting out one Sunday.”

—With one week left in the season, the Redskins’ special teams are third in Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA metric. The weighted index counts recent games more heavily to try to reflect which teams are playing better now. In terms of regular DVOA, which measures the whole season equally, the Redskins are fifth. However you measure it, an impressive improvement from last by a mile in 2013 and a sub-mediocre 29th last year.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 3; start of NFL playoffs 9

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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 is Super Bowl 2018? Date, time, location, odds, TV channel, halftime performer

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When is Super Bowl 2018? Date, time, location, odds, TV channel, halftime performer

Super Bowl LII (52) will feature the New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC Champion) against the Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles (NFC Champion) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 2018.

If they go on to advance, the Vikings would become the first team to ever ‘host’ the Super Bowl in their home stadium. They are the third to play the game in their home state. Minnesota will be looking for their first Super Bowl title in five tries, the most appearances by any team without a championship.

Philadelphia is looking for their first title ever as well, and doing it with a back-up quarterback Nick Foles. They have been the underdog in every game this postseason; it would be no different in the Super Bowl.

New England is looking for their third Super Bowl over the past four years and their sixth championship since 2001. However, their path in the AFC Playoffs is arguably the easiest in their history. A win by the Patriots would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history with six.

The new kids one the block, the Jaguars are one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in what is already the best year ever for the franchise. If Jacksonville were to pull it off, they would be the tenth team in NFL history to win in their first Super Bowl appearance.

Super Bowl LII Information:

When is Super Bowl 52?

6:15 pm ET, February 4, 2018

Who is playing in Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles

Where is Super Bowl 52?

U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota

How can I watch Super Bowl 52 on TV?

NBC

Where can I stream Super Bowl 52?

The Super Bowl can be streamed for free on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Online with no cable TV: fubtoTV (Try for free)

Who are the announcers for Super Bowl 52?

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox

Who is performing the Super Bowl 52 halftime show?

Justin Timberlake is the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime performer. It is his third Super Bowl performance, previously performing in Super Bowl XXV and more famously in XXVIII with Janet Jackson.

What are the odds for Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots: 6/5
Minnesota Vikings: 7/4
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 8/1