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Need to Know: The Redskins’ path to 10 wins

Need to Know: The Redskins’ path to 10 wins

Here is what you need to know on Saturday, September 29, nine days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

Back in February, a week after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, I said that 10 wins is a reasonable expectation for the 2018 Redskins.  They have banked two wins in their first three games. Can they get to 10? I don’t know if they will but here is a path for them to get there. 

Split with the Eagles—If you want to be the best you have to beat the best. The Eagles swept the Redskins on their way to their championship last year. Prior to that, the Redskins had beaten the Eagles five straight times. No need to get greedy here, a split with Philly will suffice. 

Win three of four against the Giants and Cowboys—At least one win against the Cowboys is needed simply for the Redskins to show that they can do it. They haven’t beaten Dallas in a meaningful game since 2014 or in any game since Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott came to Big D. The Giants appear to be headed towards another high draft pick, but it’s early. 

Win two of four against the NFC South—The games against the Panthers and Falcons are at home so winning at least one of those is important. The Redskins will be decided underdogs in New Orleans in their next game, but I’m not going to look at the Saints defense, which has not been good, and say that the Redskins have no chance. Will there still be any magic in Tampa Bay when the Redskins go there in mid-November?

Beat the Texans at home—Houston is one of three 0-3 teams in the NFL, but it will be surprising if they remain among the league’s worst teams when they come to Washington in November. Regardless, it will be a home game against an opponent that is on their level and the Redskins need to take the win. 

Split December road games in Jacksonville and Tennessee—Unless they can claim an additional win in the division or against the NFC South, the Redskins will need to go on the road in December against the AFC South to get to double-digit wins. The Jaguars went from looking like one of the best teams in the league against the Patriots to putting up only nine points against the Titans. It’s hard to figure how either team will look in December, but it’s likely that one or both of those games will be critical for the Redskins. 

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The agenda

Today: Bye week

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 9 days; Panthers @ Redskins 15; Cowboys @ Redskins 22


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Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

What was supposed to be a miniseries is now being renewed for a third, full season.

On Wednesday, the Redskins announced they're exercising Adrian Peterson's team option for 2020, meaning the running back will return to Washington for another year in their backfield.

The natural reaction to news like that in today's sports landscape is to retweet it, or send the story to a buddy, or reflect on it for about seven seconds — and then immediately spin it forward. 

Will he start in Week 1? What does this say about Derrius Guice? Will the team still be thinking about drafting a running back? And asking questions like that is absolutely fine, since they're all worth considering.

Still, just chill for a bit before launching into what's next, because what's happened already with Peterson's Redskins career is remarkable and worth reflecting on.

When the former MVP signed with the Burgundy and Gold a few weeks before the 2018 season began, it felt completely possible that he'd be gone before even appearing in a meaningful contest. His contract was for one year and it was worth the NFL minimum. It was a total flyer for what was then a desperate offense.

But then Peterson showed his trademark burst in an exhibition matchup with the Broncos, hinting that he was no flyer. Then he posted 96 yards and a rushing touchdown in the opener in Arizona. Then two weeks later, he went off for 120 yards and two scores in a win versus the Packers.

Quickly, it became clear: The guy no one wanted was turning out to be the guy for the Redskins offense.

More highlights followed, including a 64-yard end zone visit against the Giants, a 90-yarder in Philly on Monday Night Football and a 119-yard effort in his penultimate appearance of the campaign.

All together, Peterson topped 1,000 yards for the eighth time in his career — as a 33-year-old behind an offensive line that changed constantly. So, the Redskins inked him to a two-year contract last offseason, rewarding him for his tremendous output. The expectation was that he'd share carries with Guice and Chris Thompson in 2019, helping out in more of a shared role.

Peterson, though, doesn't really abide by expectations.

After a bizarre Week 1 where then-coach Jay Gruden made No. 26 a healthy scratch, Peterson stepped in for an injured Guice and assumed the main role again. 15 starts later, the 34-year-old finished with another 898 yards and five TDs — on an even more limited offense that was without its two best blockers for the majority of its plays.

As a Redskin, he's carried the ball 462 times for 1,940 yards. He's racked up 12 rushing scores to go along with a receiving TD. The only time he's missed a game was when his head coach inexplicably deemed him not worthy of suiting up.

More often than not, a longtime, one-team legend will change uniforms late in their athletic life and quietly fade away. Their highlight reels won't feature a single clip from that final stop, pretending like it never happened. 

Peterson isn't exactly fading with the Redskins. Peterson isn't really fading at all with the Redskins, in fact. And now, the man whom Ron Rivera called the "epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league" is coming back for a third go-round.

Shortly after Washington's Wednesday announcement, Peterson tweeted at a photo of himself along with a caption that read, "Still going strong!!!" The post also featured an emoji of a fully-juiced battery.

In reality, the battery of Peterson's career is closer to 0% than it is 100%. But instead of trying to project the day when it finally runs out, sit back and enjoy what's left.

Yes, Peterson will ultimately be remembered as a Viking, but he's also giving Redskins fans plenty of memories. It feels like there's more to come, too.

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Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Just days after it was reported that Jordan Reed was still in concussion protocol six months after suffering one last August against the Falcons, the Redskins tight end is apparently healthy once again.

According to The Athletic, Reed has cleared concussion protocol and wants to continue playing professional football. Reed missed the entire season due to the concussion he suffered in Atlanta, the seventh documented concussion of his football career. 

While Reed may still want to suit up, it's unlikely it will be with Washington.

The Redskins are expected to release the tight end, who is entering the second to last season of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed following the 2015 season. The Redskins would save $8.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with Reed prior to June 1.

New head coach Ron Rivera has already parted with multiple veterans, releasing cornerback Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last Friday. Norman had one year remaining on his deal, while Richardson had three.

When asked about the tight end position earlier this month, Rivera wasn't shy about the team needing to improve the unit.

"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said on Redskins Nation on Feb. 4. "That’s a big question mark." 

Two tight ends the Redskins could seek in free agency are Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, among others.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.