The Redskins are a team that could use a break. They aren’t going to get one any time soon.
It could reasonably be said that the game they played Sunday against the 3-3 Cowboys was their best chance to get a win before Thanksgiving. Their current two-game losing streak could well stretch to five games if they don’t put things back together in a hurry.
Next up for the Redskins is a trip to Seattle and I don’t have to explain what a tough task that will be. They then return home to play the Vikings, who will be coming off of their bye week after four straight wins. Next up is a trip to New Orleans and a Saints team that has won five straight after stumbling to an 0-2 start.
Thanksgiving brings the Giants to FedEx Field and perhaps an easier game, although fans would be well advised to recall the 2016 season finale when a Giants team with no incentive to play well came in and knocked the Redskins out of the playoffs.
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In order to compete with anyone, from the hot Vikings to the slumping Giants, they have to do two things. For one, they have to get healthy. Whether the injuries are an “excuse” for losing to the Cowboys or if they are a legitimate “reason” for the defeat (you can make the case both ways), this team needs to get some of its best players on the field to beat the better teams on its schedule.
But they could get everyone healthy and if they make the mistakes they made on Sunday they will not win many games. Some penalties and dropped passes were critical. They turned the ball over three times and had a field goal blocked, leading to two touchdowns and two field goals. That’s 20 points in a game they lost by 14. At full strength, the Redskins are not good enough to win while giving away points in bunches like they did on Sunday. When two players on your offensive line are making their first NFL starts, one of your top corners is out, and so on, the task becomes nearly impossible.
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Perhaps the injuries are partially to blame for the negative plays. Maybe the experienced Dustin Hopkins would have adjusted better to a snap and hold that were less than perfect. It’s possible that the strip sack of Cousins early in the second half doesn’t happen if the five top O-linemen are in. But they are not the only team in the NFL getting nailed by injuries and some of them are managing to avoid giving games away.
We will get word from Jay Gruden Monday on the new and old injuries and track the progress of those via the practice reports through the week. But there are no reports that will tell us if the Redskins will avoid making killer mistakes in Seattle. They could get healthier and still lose if they don’t clean up the mistakes.