Kirk Cousins and the Redskins look to prove that last season's NFC East title was no fluke - and it all begins Monday night under the bright lights against the Steelers. CSN has you covered with a one-hour pregame show starting at 6 p.m. - and here are the top five storylines to watch.
- Will the real Redskins please stand up - In the first six games of the 2015 season, the Redskins scored just 12 touchowns and averaged 19.5 points per game. The final 10 games of the year, however, saw the Redskins offense explode. The team scored 32 TDs over those final 10 contests and averaged more than 27 points per game. Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins certainly believe the real Redskins offense is the one that showed up over the second half of 2015, and that's the unit Washington needs to see Monday night against the Steelers
- Injured - but still dangerous - Pittsburgh comes into Monday night's game missing several of their best offensive players - namely Le'Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and now Markus Wheaton. Bell and Bryant's absences have been known for some time, but the Steelers staff hoped Wheaton might be able to make it back for their offensive attack. Even missing three starting skill players, the Steelers still present a difficult challenge with QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown, two of the most dynamic playmakers in the league.
- Bigger they are, harder they fall - The Redskins know that the best way to disrupt the Steelers offense is to get to Roethlisberger, but the staff also recognizes how difficult that can be. "It’s one thing having a good pass rush, it’s another thing getting them on the ground," Gruden said. "You can have a great pass rush but he has a great knack for finding holes and breaking tackles and keeping plays alive." For the 'Skins to win, Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan must generate a lot of pressure off the edges, but it will be vital for Chris Baker to get push up the middle as well.
- D-line Deficiency - Washington GM Scot McCloughan made an interesting decision in trimming his roster to 53 men. Instead of seven defensive lineman, the Redskins kept six on the defensive front, not the norm but not a big deal either. This week, however, the Redskins had injuries to both Kendall Reyes and Kedric Golston, leaving an already thin unit with even more questions for Monday night. Stopping the run was already a concern for the Washington defense, and the additional pressure might be felt on the D-line even if both Reyes and Golston are able to play.
- Prove it - The stat is well known by now - Despite winning nine games last year, the Redskins did not beat a single team with a winning record in 2015. In fact, the 'Skins were the only team that made the playoffs in 2015 that did not have a victory over a winning team. The Steelers won 10 games last year and are a perennial playoff threat. If Washington can win Monday night, it will quiet the talk that last year's NFC East title was a fluke.
CSN will have a TON on the Redskins vs Steelers, and always stay with @JPFinlayCSN for live updates.