Christmas Eve might be the time to revel with friends and family, but for the Redskins, it's time for football. Washington welcomes the Denver Broncos to town on Sunday, and neither side has much of anything at stake.
The 6-8 Redskins' playoff chances ended weeks ago, and the same for the 5-9 Broncos. That doesn't mean the players won't go hard and the coaches won't focus on winning. Remember, football is not a game that can be played at half speed.
For Washington to win, the team needs to play a similar game to last weekend's victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Here's the deep dive:
- That's my quarterback - Most Redskins fans hate that Sunday could be Kirk Cousins' final home game wearing Burgundy and Gold, but that's the reality. The situation isn't new, Cousins is now playing on his third one-year deal in a row. Still, this could be the end at FedEx Field, and it's entirely possible the Broncos will be scouting. Denver has one of the top defenses in the NFL led by Von Miller, and an offense with good skill position players, particularly WR Demaryius Thomas. What do the Broncos need? A quarterback. If Cousins hits the open market, which is no guarantee, John Elway might have his Denver organization poised to make a run at the Redskins franchise record holder for passing yards in a season.
- Do it again - Last week the Redskins beat a Cardinals team with a strong defense and a terrible offense. The Broncos come in with similar bonafides. Denver gives up the least yards in the NFL, while their offense ranks 24th in the league in points scored. Whatever quarterback starts for the Broncos, Paxton Lynch or Brock Osweiler, neither will be much of a threat. Osweiler played well last week in a win over the Colts, but the larger track record points to turnovers and inaccuracy. Denver comes into this game winners of two straight, and perhaps, with some momentum.
- No special gifts - It's been a tough season for the Redskins special teams. Perhaps that was best illustrated last week against Arizona when a kickoff landed short and the Cardinals recovered the ball. Not an onside kick, an actual kickoff. The simplest rule of special teams is to understand a kickoff is a live football and must be handled. That's a Football 101 mistake, and while the ball took an absurd bounce, it simply cannot happen.
Quote of the Week: Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, asked about Kirk Cousins:
He's an elite quarterback.
News & Notes:
- If the Redskins win on Sunday they will end the season with a 5-3 record at FedEx Field, just their sixth winning home record since 2000.
- If Ryan Kerrigan records a sack on Sunday, that will mark back-to-back 10-sack seasons, the first time in his career.
- Kirk Cousins has thrown for less than 200 yards passing in consecutive games, which had never previously occurred since he became starter in 2015.
- With four receptions, Vernon Davis will pass Jeremy Shockey for ninth place all-time among NFL tight ends.
- Redskins have the opportunity for their first back-to-back wins since Weeks 2 and 3.
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