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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

JERSEY CITY, NJ--Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 31, 73 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff, noon, NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, 1:00, FOX

Days until:

—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 73
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 116
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9/18) 252

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

The Giants are a mess—Their starting right tackle, Bobby Doss, was cut yesterday. Starting left tackle Ereck Flowers has been benched. Both reportedly “checked out” and did not practice on Friday. They also will with without their top two pass catchers. Of course, that refers to the receivers who weren’t already on injured reserve; players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall have long since been on injured reserve. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, who are 1-2 in receiving yards on the Giants this year, have been declared out with injuries. Even Tavarres King, the guy who caught the long pass down the sideline a year ago to set up the game-winning field goal that eliminated the Redskins, is out. That sets up this situation:

It will be hard for Eli Manning to find time to pass and, if he does, find anyone to throw to.

Farewell to Eli, or maybe not—A few weeks ago it looked like Manning was done in New York. But new Giants GM Dave Gettleman has indicated that he might want to keep Manning around next year and beyond. I’ve learned that you never can fully trust what a new GM says since he really hasn’t had a chance to assess his options. So while it might well end up being the end of the line for Eli as a Giant, it’s unlikely that the game will have that feel. 

Redskins will play to win—Every healthy player will be in his usual role. If the Redskins build a significant halftime lead, the coaches may sprinkle in some younger players like Robert Davis, Fabian Moreau and, well, Jeremy Sprinkle. But Jay Gruden is not treating this as a December exhibition game, he wants to win. The feeling around the locker room this week was that winning to finish 8-8 is important to the players as well. 

Keys to winning:

  • The Giants’ rushing defense is 28th in the NFL and they give up 4.2 yards per carry. The last time the Redskins played the Giants was the last time Samaje Perine gained 100 yards in a game. You can put those facts together with the weather forecast, which calls for a high of 18 degrees, and figure out what the Redskins ought to do when they have the ball. 
  • Defensively, the Redskins can’t give them any hope. As noted, the Giants have zero weapons but that doesn’t mean the Redskins can ease up in any way. Remember last year how after Beckham left the game it was King who beat them. As long as they play solid fundamentally and communicate well, the Redskins should be able to keep the Giants out of the end zone. 

Prediction: The Redskins are finishing their season with three straight bad teams (where were these teams earlier in the season when they needed them?). They had to sweat out a final possession to hang on and beat the Cardinals. They started off slowly against the Broncos before pulling away and posting a comfortable win. Things should be even easier today. Perine runs for 125, Cousins gets the three TD passes he needs to get to 30 for the first time in his career, Josh Norman gets his first interception of the year, and the Redskins win easily.

Redskins 28, Giants 6

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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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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