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Pros, cons, and X factors: Redskins vs. Vikings game prediction

Pros, cons, and X factors: Redskins vs. Vikings game prediction

Redskins at Vikings
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.

Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and X factors for the Washington Redskins as they take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and then I’ll give my prediction.

Here are two factors that work against a Redskins win:

—The Vikings have a solid defense led by rookie outside linebacker Anthony Barr and end Everson Griffen. They are second in the NFL in sacks with Griffen leading the way with eight. Tom Johnson, who has a cap number of $845,000, has five sacks, two more than the Redskins’ Jason Hatcher, who has a cap number is $3.75 million and a contract with $10.5 million in guaranteed money. Robert Griffin III will need to have his head on a swivel.

—With the exception of a 67-yard touchdown run in the Vikings’ season opener against the Rams, Cordarrelle Patterson has been fairly quiet this year. But the wide receiver/kick returner is still dangerous. Last year he scored four touchdowns on plays of 50 yards or longer including, of particular interest to Ben Kotwica, kickoff returns of 105 and 109 yards. Kai Forbath has done pretty well with getting kicks into the end zone lately but he’ll need to get some hang time to keep Patterson pinned down.

Here are two factors in favor of a Redskins win:

—The Redskins got their pass rush cranked up against the Cowboys, sacking Tony Romo five times. They should be able to keep it up against the Vikings, who have allowed a sack on slightly over 10 percent of pass attempts. Only one team, the Jaguars, have a worse sack rate. The Redskins may not get 10 sacks against Minnesota like they did against Jacksonville but it’s a pretty good bet that they’ll have the chance to match what they got last week.

—Teddy Bridgewater has the potential to be a pretty good quarterback one day. Right now, he’s not. The rookie out of Louisville has two touchdown passes and five interceptions on his ledger. His net yards per pass attempt, when you factor in yardage lost to sacks, is 5.5. Bridgewater has put together some key drives in the Vikings’ wins over the Falcons and Bucs so he is dangerous but he still is very much in the project phase of his development.

And two X factors:

—We know that Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback for Washington. We don’t know if we will see the uncomfortable pocket passer that was on display in Houston or the dynamic RG3 we got a brief glimpse of against the Jaguars. On top of that, we don’t know that whatever version of Griffin is on display will be effective.

—Will the running threat created by the presence of Griffin give Alfred Morris some running room? His average per carry has plummeted from 4.8 as a rookie with Griffin at his best down to 3.9 with most of the QB snaps going to Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. It will probably take a big run or two by Griffin before the effect will kick in so we will see what RG3 can do.

So what will happen?

With the exception of the last seven games of the 2012 season, the Redskins have had difficult following up a big win with another one. In fact, besides 2012 they haven’t won three games in a row of any sort, big or little, since 2008.

So are these the same old Redskins or will the return Robert Griffin and the fact that a rookie quarterback is at the helm of the other team help Washington prevail?

This doesn’t have a good feel. Although I think the short week effect is overrated, having both ends of it on the road in a different time zone will hurt the Redskins. The Redskins are marginally more talented than the Vikings but the short week and the home field favor Minnesota.

Vikings 21, Redskins 17

(record this year 4-4)

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Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

In some circles of modern culture, producing shocking commentary or content seems like the top goal. Being shocking gets clicks, gets attention, and in turn, gets dollars. 

On NFL Draft night, nothing should be shocking. Remember, last season there was no way Jonathan Allen would fall to the Redskins at 17. There was no way Kansas City would trade up for QB Patrick Maholmes. There was no way Chicago would trade up for Mitchell Trubisky. But all those things happened.

Sure, for months draft experts have expounded about what will happen, but the truth is, once the Browns are on the clock, nobody actually knows anything. 

With that in mind, let's look at a bunch of options that should not shock Redskins fans. 

  • Don't be shocked if Washington takes Minkah Fitzpatrick. They want him.
  • Don't be shocked if the Redskins draft Da'Ron Payne over Vita Vea. Washington loves Payne's potential to be a disruptor in the pass game and his incredible strength. 
  • Then again, don't be shocked if the 'Skins take Vita. Plenty of folks like him too. 
  • Don't be shocked if a team makes a move for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. That could happen after the Redskins pick at 13, but Washington's pick could also prove important in the race for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Derwin James will be on the 'Skins list, but don't be shocked if he goes off the board before the Redskins pick. 
  • Don't be shocked with a trade back, but remember that isn't the goal. With four QBs expected in the Top 10, an elite talent should make it to Washington at 13. If that happens, the Redskins should take advantage of adding a blue chip to their squad. 
  • Don't be shocked if Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds ends up wearing the Redskins draft hat. Also, don't be shocked if he plays some outside linebacker in the Washington 3-4 scheme, not just the inside LB role most project for Edmunds. 
  • Don't be shocked if a seemingly sure thing slips all the way to 13. Perhaps that's Quenton Nelson? Or Denzel Ward? Remember, there was no way Jon Allen was supposed to fall to 17 last year.

There are some things Redskins fans should be shocked by. 

  • Washington should not trade up. 
  • Washington should not draft a running back at 13 unless Saquon Barley is available. He won't be.
  • Washington should not draft a wide receiver at 13. 
  • If one of the top four QBs is available at 13, Washington should vigorously work the phones to move the pick. Move down a few spots and get Payne should be the exact plan in that scenario. Arizona at 15 needs a QB. 


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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2018 NFL Draft Predictions: Where will the Edmunds brothers go?

2018 NFL Draft Predictions: Where will the Edmunds brothers go?

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the fourth episode above and more here.

After this weekend's NFL Draft, the Edmunds family will go from having one son in the league to three. 

Trey is already on the Saints, but Tremaine and Terrell aren't pros just yet. So, when will they be taken? Here's a collection of predictions from NBC Sports Washington's NFL crew regarding the middle and youngest Edmunds brothers.


JP Finlay: The Niners at nine. John Lynch won't be able to get past Edmunds' combination of size and speed, and the elite potential of the just 19-year-old. Remember, too, San Francisco might not have Reuben Foster this fall.

Rich Tandler:  Eighth to the Bears. Physically, he is a double for Brian Urlacher and he worked out well enough for the Bears that he is headed for the Hall of Fame this year.

Mitch Tischler: No. 9 to the San Francisco 49ers.  We all know Kyle Shannahan loves him some offensive threats but getting an edge rusher that could tally double digit sacks and play both inside and out is going to be too tough to pass up at nine.

Pete Hailey: No. 10 and the Raiders. Jon Gruden won't let the dynamic Edmunds fall any further.


JP Finlay: Kansas City in Round 3. They could use additional depth in the secondary and that franchise knows value when they see it.

Mitch Tischler: The Steelers in Round 3. He fits their scheme, has an nfl body and measured very well at the Combine.

Pete Hailey: Round 3 to the Cardinals. Terrell can learn from Antoine Bethea then fill in for him once Bethea moves on.