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The Redskins are down five starters as they hit the road to face the Jets

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The Redskins are down five starters as they hit the road to face the Jets

A week ago, Washington pushed the high-scoring Falcons to overtime but ultimately allowed a huge opportunity to slip.

This week, the Redskins (2-3) are simply looking to stay relevant.

If Kirk Cousins and an injury-depleted roster can beat the upstart Jets (3-1), get to .500 (with a home game against the Buccaneers looming), there will be hope, optimism even, that something can still come from this season. A defeat, however, would drop their record to 2-4 and, well, hope would begin to turn into doubt.

So, yeah, Sunday’s game in the Meadowlands is big. Really big.

Here are Tarik’s five areas/matchups to monitor:

*All NFL teams battle injuries. But what the Redskins are facing this week borders on ludicrous. Ruled out are: three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams (concussion), starting center Kory Lichtensteiger (shoulder/finger), cornerbacks Chris Culliver (knee) and DeAngelo Hall (toe) and tight end Jordan Reed (concussion). Listed as questionable are running back Matt Jones (toe) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Coach Jay Gruden did not sound overly optimistic about Jones or Jackson. “I told [the team] today, ‘We’ve got a heck of a team not playing. But we have got a heck of a team playing.’ …We have a job we’ve got to do and we’ve got to do it with the able bodies that we have playing.”

*The Redskins’ offensive line produced solid performances against formidable Detroit and St. Louis defensive fronts. And it will be tested again at MetLife Stadium by Sheldon Richardson, who is returning from a four-game suspension, Leonard Williams, who was selected one spot behind Brandon Scherff in this year's draft, and Muhammad Wilkerson, who has a team-high 3.5 sacks. Adding to the level of difficult are the O-line injuries. Ty Nsekhe (10 career snaps) will start for Williams and Josh LeRibeus will start for Lichtensteiger. In fact, only Scherff and second-year tackle Morgan Moses remain from the group that started Week 1.

*The Redskins must take care of the football against the Jets’ talented defense. Not only has New York allowed the second-fewest yards per game (280.3) and the fewest points (13.8), the unit is tied for second in takeaways with 13 (6 interceptions and 7 recovered fumbles). The Redskins’ offense, meantime, is tied for the third most giveaways (6 interceptions, 3 lost fumbles).

*Staying along those lines, the Redskins are tied for sixth worst turnover differential (minus-3). And a big reason for that deficit is Cousins' six interceptions. Say what you want about who is to blame for the individual picks—every one of them has its own set of variables—but it’s concerning when the starting quarterback has thrown a pair of picks in each of the team’s three losses. Meantime, three of the Jets’ four starters in the secondary have at least one interception; four-time All-Pro Darrelle Revis has two. And it’s probably safe to assume that Cousins will be under more pressure due to the inexperience up front combined with the Jets’ formidable defensive front.  

*Can the Redskins get the running game going again? After averaging 171 yards on the ground the first two games, it’s been hit or miss. More miss, really. In fact, Alfred Morris, Jones and Co. were held to a season-low 51 yards (2.1 yards per carry) last week in Atlanta. Is it the line? Do the backs share some of the blame? Is it what the opponent has been doing? Some combination of the three? Whatever it is, the Redskins need to run the ball, run it well and run it often on Sunday to have a shot. The Jets, by the way, have the eighth best run defense in the league (94.8 yards per game and 3.8 per carry).                

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins' injury list a long one

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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