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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

The Redskins’ defense has been out on the field for more plays in the past two weeks but they are playing better.

In the first four games of the season, opponents ran 244 plays and scored 123 points. That’s 61 plays and 30.1 points per game and an average of .50 points for every offensive play run.

The past two weeks, opponents have run 161 plays, an average of 80.5 per game, and they have scored 50 points, 25 per game. The Redskins have given up an average of .31 points per offensive play.

The Redskins’ opponents are running more plays but getting less out of them. The big plays that were so common in the first quarter of the season have by and large disappeared. In the past two games the longest plays they have given up are a 32-yard Adrian Peterson run and a 29-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones.

Let’s see, forcing long drives, not giving up big plays, forcing teams to settle for field goal attempts (as the Redskins did three times in the first quarter of the Vikings game). That sure sounds like a bend but don’t break defense to me.

But when asked about applying that term to his defense, Jim Haslett objected. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bend but don’t break defense if you’re blitzing,” he said. “I think last week we had a big lead and didn’t want to give it up.”

Will the Redskins be in the position of having to protect a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday? The Giants have been very efficient on offense, scoring .45 points per offensive play. The Redskins will have to be at the top of their game to keep the Giants from piling up the points.

Of course, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well. They have score exactly as many points as the Giants have, 178 (29.7 per game, .48 points/play).

And this game could well come down to who has the ball in his hands last. Eli Manning is one of the best fourth-quarter quarterbacks in the game and he has led two last-minute drives to win Super Bowls. Griffin is carving out his own niche with a late drive to set up a field goal to beat the Bucs and last week’s game-clinching 76-yard run against the Vikings.

I read that Accuscore, one of those places where they simulate each game 10,000 times, had the Giants winning 60 percent of the time. That sounds about right. The Giants should be favored but 40 percent is certainly a reasonable chance of winning.

I’m not going to pick the upset here with the Redskins on the road but it would not be stunning at all if I’m wrong. The RG3 legend could well grow this weekend.

Giants 28, Redskins 24

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

Here are three things you need to know about Nick Rose, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Dustin Hopkins.

1) His next NFL kick will be his first one

Rose has spent offseason time with the Falcons and 49ers since entering the league in 2016 after his collegiate career at Texas. However, he has never attempted a regular season field goal or PAT, so the first time he does so with the Redskins will be the first time ever for him as a pro.

The 23-year-old certainly has potential: He was one of the nation's top touchback producers in 2014 and 2015 for the Longhorns, so distance on kickoffs and field goals shouldn't be an issue (this video of him nailing one from 80, yes, 80, backs that up). What remains to be seen is whether he can split the uprights for Washington.

For what it's worth, Hopkins was totally inexperienced in the NFL when he first signed with the Burgundy and Gold, too.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS - 'SKINS IN TOP 10

2) He can make kicks in unconventional ways

While this doesn't come across as something Jay Gruden would ever want Rose to try in, say, this Monday's game in Philly, Rose can sink chip shots while simultaneously completing a backflip.

Ever seen Adam Vinatieri do that? Nope, didn't think so.

3) He beat out at least three other candidates for the job

With Hopkins likely done for the year with a hip issue, the Redskins worked out a handful of replacement options on Tuesday.

It was Rose, though, who emerged with a contract. He earned it over at least three other guys, including veterans Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks. Now he must bring that strong leg, as well as some accuracy, when called upon to ensure the 'Skins don't miss out on any points on a weekly basis.

Making kicks in the middle of backflips is fun, sure. But making them in front of national TV audiences instead of a YouTube audience is probably more fun. Let's see if Rose has what it takes to stick around.

RELATED: IN CROWDED NFC, WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins will likely not play again this year, a source with knowledge of the situation tells our JP Finlay.

The team placed Hopkins on the injured reserve list, which means he's out at least eight weeks. To replace him, the Redskins signed Nick Rose, per NFL Network.

In his third season with Washington, Hopkins had made nearly 82 percent of his field goals this year. He made 12 of 13 extra points, but missed a very important extra point in Sunday's win over the 49ers.

Hopkins had a very strong leg, capable of touchbacks on kickoffs nearly every time the situation called for it. 

Rose is yet to play in the NFL but spent time with the 49ers. He kicked collegiately at the University of Texas.

As a senior in Austin last year, Rose made 13 of 17 field goals and 38 of 39 extra points.