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Week 17 Redskins at Giants: Washington looks to close season on strong note

Week 17 Redskins at Giants: Washington looks to close season on strong note

It's been a disappointing season for the Redskins. That cannot be sugarcoated. That said, finishing 2017 with a third straight win, over a division rival, to reach 8-8 is the best possible finale.

RELATED: NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE IN WEEK 17

The Redskins will face a terrible 2-13 Giants team Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) with little on the line but pride. That doesn't mean Jay Gruden's team shouldn't win. Here's how they do it:

  1. Under pressure - In their last two games the Redskins defensive front has been a force. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Anthony Lanier are playing some of their best football, with additional push coming from Junior Galette. Washington has nine sacks in their last two games, wins over Arizona and Denver, and pressure on the opposing quarterbacks has easily been the most prominent feature for the Redskins on the two-game win streak. Sacks and QB hits lead to turnovers, and that should be the goal against Eli Manning and a bad Giants offensive line on Sunday. 
  2. So long? - It's well documented that this could be Kirk Cousins final game as a Washington Redskin. Yes, the QB and the organization have done this dance the past two seasons, with the passer coming back on one-year, franchise tag contracts. The coming offseason feels different, however, as the franchise tag option has grown to an outrageous cost. What will happen next? Nobody knows, truthfully. It's undeniable that Cousins will want to put forward a strong performance, as he tries every week. 
  3. Not very hot seat - When the Redskins returned from Los Angeles in early December after a thrashing at the hands of the Chargers, there was some speculation Jay Gruden could lose his job. At that point, Washington was 5-8, eliminated from playoff contention and coming off back to back blowout losses. The season seemed like it could capsize, and the weight of the losses might sink Gruden. In the two games since, Gruden's team has played just well enough to beat Arizona and then put out a dominant second half effort to roll past Denver. Reports now say Gruden's job is safe, if it ever was in danger to begin with, and most expect the coach to be back in 2018. A win Sunday, and another non-losing season, would likely cement that. A loss to the 2-13 Giants, however, would be a bad way to enter the offseason. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked if Kirk Cousins owes his head coach anything,

He doesn't owe me anything. 

News & Notes:

  • After missing practice on Thursday, Ryan Kerrigan is expected to start on Sunday. That will mark his 112th straight start for Kerrigan, who has never missed a game in his NFL career
  • If Preston Smith logs a sack on Sunday, it will mark a new career high. The third-year pro has eight sacks this season, the same number he logged in 2015 as a rookie. With 2018 being a contract year for Smith, a double digit sack total would be a good line on his 2017 resume. 
  • With the start Sunday, Kirk Cousins becomes the first Redskins quarterback to start 16 games in three consecutive seasons since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
  • With a win over the Giants, Jay Gruden will become the first Redskins coach to finish three consecutive seasons with a winning percentage of .500 or better since Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs across a four-year span from 1989-92.
  • Among the many Redskins players that won't play Sunday, notables include Zach Brown and Trent Williams, who underwent knee surgery on Friday. 

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 19, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass rushers are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity metric, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this we looked at the best teamsreceivers,running backs, and quarterbacks

1. Calais Campbell, Jaguars—If he gets a sack against the Redskins in Week 15, many fans will once again rue draft day in 2008 when the Redskins took both WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis in the second round while Campbell was still on the board. He has been a consistent pass rusher since coming into the league, averaging eight sacks a season. Campbell is coming off of a career-high 14.5. 

2. Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys—He had nine career sacks going into last year and then he broke out in a big way with 14.5. He got three sacks against the Redskins last year and has five in six career games. He actually ranked ahead of Campbell in the PFF pass rush metric, but I put Campbell ahead of him because we’re not sure if Lawrence is a great pass rusher or if he just peaked in his contract year. 

3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals—He posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five years including a league-leading 17 last season. His 2017 performance earned him first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jones does more than get sacks. He has 16 career forced fumbles; only five players have forced more since he came into the league in 2012.

4. J.J. Watt, Texans—Injuries have limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. Even if the missed time has him beneath his peak years of 2012-2015, when he was first-team All-Pro every year and defensive player of the year three times, he will be difficult to deal with. 

5. Brian Orakpo, Titans—His career with the Redskins was a mixed bag, with two Pro Bowls and two seasons with double-digit sacks. After Orakpo missed 23 games from 2012-2015, the Redskins didn’t make him a competitive contract offer and he left to sign with the Titans. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons in Tennessee and has averaged eight sacks per season. 

Best of the rest: Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars; Clay Matthews, Packers; Vic Beasley, Falcons; Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers; Cam Jordan, Saints

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Redskins six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was born on this date in 1988.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 7
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 21
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 44

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 52 days. 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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