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Predicting the Redskins' 2014 games

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Predicting the Redskins' 2014 games

It’s difficult to try to predict the outcome of an NFL game 10 minutes before kickoff. It’s sheer folly  to do it about four and a half months before game time. But that’s never stopped me before. Here are my way, way, way too early 2014 predictions game by game.

(Home teams in bold)

Sept. 7 Texans 21, Redskins 17 The Redskins and Texans had remarkably similar falls last year, going from division champs in 2012 to the cellar of the NFL. Both teams are somewhere in between worst and first and the home team takes this one. (Redskins record: 0-1)

Sept. 14 Redskins 31, Jaguars 24 There aren’t many four- or five-year rebuilding programs in the NFL these days but the Jags are into the second year of theirs. They’re not there yet but the Redskins are probably glad they won’t have to face them again until 2018. (1-1)

Sept. 21 Eagles 30, Redskins 21 Yes, Donovan was triumphant in his return to Philly but Jackson won’t be quite as fortunate as the Redskins still will be struggling with tackling Shady McCoy. (1-2)

Sept. 25 (Thur.) Redskins 24, Giants 20 It’s a short week going in but they have the short trip to Philly the week before then they are at home. The Redskins didn’t play New York last year when Eli was throwing picks by the bushel. They’ll make up for it in this game with a few interceptions of Manning. (2-2)

Oct. 6 (Mon.)Seahawks 28, Redskins 24 Jay Gruden will need to have his team ready for prime time in a hurry with his fourth and fifth games both coming under the lights. Will this be the Redskins team that was in display in January of 2013 when Griffin and the offense were doing the hot knife through butter routine on the Seattle D during the first two drives? It could be but the Seahawks will find a way to win anyway. (2-3)

Oct 12 Cardinals 21, Redskins 14 A bit of a tough trip here with the Redskins traveling out west on a short week. The Redskins do have a shot here if Haslett’s attacking defense takes shape and Carson Palmer can be forced to throw a few passes up for grabs. But the Cardinals are a team on the rise and will be tough at home. (2-4)

Oct. 19 Titans 24, Redskins 10 At some point the Redskins will lay an egg at home and send the fans home cursing and scratching their heads. This is that point. (2-5)

Oct 27 (Mon.) Redskins 42, Cowboys 20 It’s hard to see how the Dallas defense is going to be much better this year than it was last year. In 2013 the Redskins didn’t have the weapons to exploit it; now they do. (3-5)

Nov 2 Redskins 28, Vikings 24 The franchise lost a lot of character when it moved from playing outdoors at The Met in Boomington into the Metrodome. But two months isn’t going to be enough to regain the edge they had. (4-5)

Week 19 (Nov. 9) BYE

Nov. 16 Redskins 17, Bucs 14 I’m not buying in to Lovie Smith doing a quick turnaround job in Tampa Bay. (5-5)

Nov. 23 49ers 24, Redskins 20 The Redskins were non-competitive against the 49ers in a Monday night game at FedEx last year. Washington will be improved but the 49ers are still much better. (5-6)

Nov. 30 Colts 35, Redskins 28 It’s somewhat surprsising that this one doesn’t get the prime time treatment with the marquee young QB’s involved. RG3 beat out Andrew Luck for the Heisman Trophy. Luck got drafted first overall, Griffin second. At home, Luck wins it on the scoreboard in the first of what will be infrequent meetings on the field. (5-7)

Dec. 7 Redskins 21, Rams 14 We won’t know who “won” the RG3 trade for a few more years but the Redskins should handle Sam Bradford and win this particular game. (6-7)

Dec. 14 Redskins 24, Giants 23 Remember the 2012 game at MetLife when Victor Cruz caught the bomb from Eli to win the game in the last two minutes? Think that game but with the outcome reversed with Griffin going to Jackson. (7-7)

Dec. 21 (Sat.) Redskins 38, Eagles 24 This is non-prime time but nationally televised. I think the Eagles will have something to play for here so a Redskins win will hurt them. Unlike the earlier meeting, DeSean gets his revenge in this one. (8-7)

Dec. 28 Cowboys 24, Redskins 21 I know that every Redskins fan out there loves to jump on the “Tony Romo is a choker” bandwagon. Fact is, he has many more successful comeback attempts than he has ones that end in interceptions. Like the one he engineered last December with the sprained back. And this one. (8-8)

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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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!