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Redskins vs. Giants: Five keys and a prediction

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Redskins vs. Giants: Five keys and a prediction

Five keys to the Redskins-Giants game plus a prediction:

1. When I’m looking at this game I keep on going back to Eli Manning’s ball security. He was a turnover machine in the Giants’ first six games, throwing 15 interceptions. In the five games since then he’s thrown two. Over his career he hasn’t been as bad as protecting the ball as he was earlier this year but hasn’t been as good as he has lately. How he does on Sunday night will go a long way towards determining the outcome.

2. The Redskins, of course, have their own streaky QB and Robert Griffin III has been going downhill lately. In his last six games he’s had three horrid games (vs. the Broncos, Eagles and 49ers), one solid game against the Vikings and two excellent performances against the Bears and Chargers. Not at all coincidentally, the only games there that the Redskins won are the two where he played well. My brilliant analysis of this is that Griffin needs to play well for the Redskins to win.

3. Victor Cruz is by far the Giants’ leading receiver with 60 catches for 851 yards. You have to think that he will primarily be DeAngelo Hall’s responsibility. Cruz was a handful for the Redskins last year; in the two games he caught 12 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. The TD came in the last two minutes of the game at Met Life Stadium and gave the Giants the win.

4. Everyone justifiably complains about the inability of the Redskins to get to the quarterback. But they do have 27 sacks on the year. The Giants, who won two Super Bowls based largely on their ability to rack up sacks, are even worse. They have a mere 18 sacks so far. End Jason Pierre-Paul, who totaled 23 sacks in 2011-2012, has been battling injuries all year and he has just two sacks. JPP has not missed a game this year but he has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

5. In addition to Pierre-Paul, the Giants will be missing another starter in cornerback Trumaine McBride. Also out are CB Corey Webster (ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee). The Redskins are likely to get TE Jordan Reed back from a concussion that sidelined him against the 49ers. However, they could be without fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) again and Niles Paul is also questionable after missing practice all week due to an illness. In addition, the Redskins placed starting defensive end Stephen Bowen on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Prediction: The Giants appear to be the more banged-up team but playing an opponent with multiple injuries did not help the Redskins against the Vikings. Will RG3 be on or off? I flipped a coin and came up with . . .

Redskins 28, Giants 21

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Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden sounds like he might be ready to again coach Kirk Cousins on a one-year contract, whether he likes it or not.

"Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to coach whoever is in the building, and if we get (Cousins) for a one-year, it’s a one year," Gruden told NBC Sports Washington (full video above).

"We’ll do the best we can with it."

At this point, Gruden knows the problems of coaching a quarterback on a one-year contract, as the Redskins have deployed the franchise tag on Cousins the past two seasons. Should Washington again look to tag Cousins, the price tag jumps to a wild $34 million for the 2018 season. Keep in mind, however, the NFL salary cap might outpace projections and creep all the way to $180 million, driving down the percentage of cap occupied by Cousins. 

Both Cousins and Gruden have talked about wanting long-term clarity, and while it's hard to say if the one-year deals impact on-field play, they take a toll on offseason planning. 

Regardless, Gruden moved quick to clear up any confusion about his relationship with Cousins. 

Asked directly if there was tension with Cousins, Gruden said, " No. I'm tired of the questions about the one-year deal."

Understandably, Gruden seems frustrated with the nature of contract talks between the Redskins and Cousins.

In 2016, Washington low-balled Cousins in contract talks and the QB decided to play on the franchise tag. In 2017, Washington made a low but reasonable offer to start contract talks, but Cousins decided not to negotiate, and again played on a one-year franchise tag. 

In 2018, it could be more of the same. 

"It seems like we just keep pushing this thing off and off and off, and eventually both sides are going to have to make a decision," Gruden said. "Hopefully that will be soon, but if not, we will see what happens."

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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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

Half of the Final 4 is now set:

January 22: Round two, matchup three

This one was a low-scoring, close affair, but went to the Likes side in the end:

January 23: Round two, matchup four

The last Final 4 spot is up for grabs. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: