Redskins

Quick Links

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

jackson-vs-texans.png

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

Seahawks at Redskins
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN

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

Here are two factors that work against a Redskins win:

—I suppose I could just say, “they’re the Seahawks” and that the two “con” factors are their offense and defense and leave it at that. But to narrow down to one player on offense, I’ll go with Marshawn Lynch. The Redskins did an excellent job of containing Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles when they played the Eagles and even though Arian Foster was able to get 103 yards against them he needed 27 carries to do it. (3.8 yards/carry). But they are speed backs. The Giants’ two power backs, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, gashed Washington for a combined 121 yards on 28 carries. Lynch is much better than those two, of course. The Redskins will need to gang tackle Lynch and keep him well under 100 yards to have a chance.

—And to pick one player on defense I’ll say safety Earl Thomas. He doesn’t have an interception this year but he’s due. If Kirk Cousins has any lingering jitters from his four-pick performance last Thursday, Thomas will take advantage of any errant throws.

Here are two factors in favor of a Redskins win:

—The Redskins have a pretty good group of receivers who should be able to challenge Thomas and the rest of the Seattle secondary. If Cousins gets time to throw (and, per Pro Football Focus he has been under pressure on a lower percentage of his passes than all but one regular NFL QB this year) he should be able to find Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Niles Paul. Add in a possible appearance by Jordan Reed and they could cause some trouble for the famed Legion of Boom.

—The Redskins only have one sack against teams not named the Jacksonville Jaguars but they have a pretty decent pass rush and Seattle’s offensive line is not one of their stronger units. If they can be smart about keeping Wilson in the pocket—much easier said than done—they could get to him. He’s been sacked six times in three games. The caveat here is that they have to hit him. Wilson is one of the best QBs in the league when scrambling and under pressure.

And two X factors:

—Will the Redskins run the ball? Some have said that Jay Gruden has a tendency to abandon the run and toss the ball around a little too much if the run game isn’t clicking. But in the one game the Seahawks lost, the Chargers stuck with the run. San Diego’s Danny Woodhead, Ryan Mathews, and Donald Brown combined for 26 carries for 84 yards (3.2 yards per carry). The Chargers’ run game was not effective in a statistical sense but it wore down the Seahawks’ defensive front. Although the Redskins will have to take advantage of their strength, their receiving corps, they can’t be one-dimensional even if Alfred Morris is being held to only three yards per carry.

— They aren’t s bad as they looked against the Giants. That’s damning with faint praise to be sure but there is way too much of a tendency for fans and many in the media to judge a team based on its last game. If they were playing this game the week after the Jaguars game or even the Eagles game, they might be a popular dark horse pick to win this game. But is the group that will take on the Seahawks tonight that different from the one that played the Jags and Eagles? They’re healthier but other than that, it’s the same group.

So what will happen?

The only real chance the Redskins have is the “any given Monday” scenario. The Seahawks come out flat, the Redskins get a pick six early, the refs are quick with the illegal contact flags and Washington is able to hang around long enough to pull it out. According to the odds on the site FiveThirtyEight.com, the Redskins have a 19 percent chance of pulling out the win. That sounds about right.

But the far more likely scenario is that the Seahawks will take care of business. Lynch will run for a buck and a quarter or so. Wilson will be his usual efficient self, putting up some unimpressive numbers while being very impressive in the decisions he makes. The Redskins receivers will be able to make some plays but not nearly enough of them. Throw in a big play by Percy Harvin, perhaps coming on special teams, and you have a game that is ugly, nominally competitive, but is controlled by the visiting team.

Seahawks 20, Redskins 6

(record this year 2-2)

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

breeland_vs_az_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

In case you missed it

  

Quick Links

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

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