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Redskins vs. Dolphins: Pros, cons, and a prediction

Redskins vs. Dolphins: Pros, cons, and a prediction

Three reasons why the Dolphins will win:

—From the Redskins’ standpoint it would be a great story if rookie guard Brandon Scherff could battle Ndamukong Suh to a stalemate. But the reality is that, while Scherff may visit many Pro Bowls in the future it is likely that Suh will get the best of him. This will have Kirk Cousins on the run, unable to get rid of the ball quickly and will disrupt the Redskins’ plans to control the game by keeping the ball on the ground.

—Even if Scherff is able to hold his own against Suh the Redskins’ revamped offensive line will have to go up against two other very good defensive linemen in Cameron Wake and Earl Mitchell. Someone is likely to get through frequently.

—Ryan Tannehill has improved every year he’s been in the league. If he takes a step up from last year, when he passed for over 4,000 yards and threw just 12 interceptions in 590 pass attempts, he will be tough to handle. Despite some changes the Redskins’ secondary remains suspect and Tannehill could have a big day

Why the Redskins will win:

—DeSean Jackson can take the top off of a defense. He may play a limited number of snaps as he works his way back into game shape and Kirk Cousins might not always have time to throw deep but it only takes one to change the complexion of a game.

—Matt Jones could be a secret weapon for the Redskins against the Dolphins defensive front. The rookie running back may not do to well slamming into the line. But he is also good catching passes out of the backfield and he has great feet when he’s out in space. A good way to beat the pass rush would be for Kirk Cousins to flip the ball to him about half a dozen times and see what he can do.

—Tannehill cut down on the number of sacks he took, from 58 in 2013 to 46 last year. That’s a solid improvement but it’s still in the bottom third in the league. Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Hatcher, Preston Smith, and Trent Murphy could have their shots at the quarterback. If they hit home it could be a long day for Tannehill.

Prediction:

This is a winnable game for the Redskins even though the Dolphins are probably the better team. In a game where defenses should dominate a deep pass or two to Jackson or a big gain on a swing pass by Jones could tilt the balance.

But the Redskins aren’t ready to win a game like this. The matchup reminds me of the Redskins playing the Texans a year ago. They didn’t play horribly but Houston had a dominant defensive lineman in J.J. Watt who disrupted things just enough and Washington made just enough mistakes (giving up a blocked punt and a block extra point and losing two fumbles in Houston territory) to lose. I am not yet convinced that the Redskins are immune from such gaffes.

Dolphins 24, Redskins 17

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.