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Redskins vs Giants preview: 5 things to know as Washington goes all in for must win

Redskins vs Giants preview: 5 things to know as Washington goes all in for must win

The time for hyperbole has ended - this is an actual must-win game for the Redskins against the Giants.

If they win, they're very likely in the playoffs.

If they lose, questions will mount for players and coaches. The game is slotted for a 4:25 p.m. start at FedEx Field, but all the action starts on CSN at 3 p.m. with Redskins Kickoff. 

For New Year's Day, the weather looks quite mild, as temperatures will be hovering above freezing and little precipitation is expected. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Start fast - Plenty seemed different last week in the blowout win over the Bears, but the tone was set early. The Redskins scored first in that game for the first time in more than a month, and got out to an early 14-0 lead. If Jay Gruden's team can get out to another early lead against the Giants, the New York players might completely lose interest in a game that holds no value for them.
  2. Expect the best - Let's be honest here: The Giants are very likely to rest some of their best players. The risk of injury to a star like Odell Beckham or Eli Manning far outweighs the reward of winning what is a meaningless game for New York. As much as Ben McAdoo said his starters will play, they're probably not playing the whole game. They might not even play the whole first half, but for the Redskins, that's irrelevant. Washington needs to be laser focused, sharp in coverages and calls, and not leave anything to chance in a game that will determine their season. 
  3. Strength against Strength - Offense sets the tone for the Skins, while the Giants' defense has been their best unit all season. Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay has repeatedly said that his team is at its best when the offense is balanced and the team runs the ball well. Against the Bears, McVay's unit rushed for more than 200 yards and piled up nearly 500 total yards. Facing the Giants, it will be much harder to run the ball, as New York ranks No. 7 in the NFL in rush defense. Still, McVay needs to stay committed on the ground. The best way to do that? Jay Gruden explained, "If you get down, then obviously it’s hard to be balanced. It’s important for us to be good in the down-and-distance, number one. Number two, convert third downs so we can maintain some drives to stay balanced. And obviously stay close."
  4. Turning it around - Washington's defense has struggled all season, that's no secret. Joe Barry's squad ranks near the bottom of the NFL in a number of defensive categories, including 29th in yards allowed per game. Luckily for Skins fans, the Giants also struggle offensively, 25th in the league in scoring and almost at the bottom in terms of time of possession. In spots, the Redskins have had success generating turnovers, like the five interceptions last week in the blowout over Chicago. Earlier this year, Quinton Dunbar and Su'a Cravens each had an interception of Manning as the Burgundy and Gold forced three turnovers in a Week 3 win in New York. Washington's defense might not get that many stops, but if they can grab extra possessions for their offense, that will provide major help.
  5. 'Playoffs start early' - A leader in the locker room, Pierre Garçon had a message this week, saying that "the playoffs start early for us." It's that simple for the Redskins. Gruden said all week that making the playoffs is his baseline for a successful season, and that cannot happen unless his team wins on Sunday. For all the progress Washington has made under the Gruden and Scot McCloughan regime, a loss in this meaningful of a game would be a tremendous setback. 

Numbers & Notes

  • Kirk Cousins is 370 yards away from 5,000 passing yards for the season. No Redskins QB has ever thrown for 5,000 yards. 
  • With just 170 passing yards, Kirk Cousins becomes the first quarterback in team history to average 300 passing yards per game in a season. The previous record was 269.1, set by Mark Rypien in 1989. Cousins is currently averaging 308 YPG.
  • Pierre Garçon needs one catch to extend his streak of consecutive regular season games played with a reception to 102, the fifth longest active streak in the NFL (Larry Fitzgerald, 194; Brandon Marshall, 159; Steve Smith Sr., 142; Michael Crabtree, 110).
  • Pierre Garcon needs 55 receiving yards for 1,000 on the season, his first 1,000 yard season since 2013.
  • Jamison Crowder enters the game as the NFL's leader with a 13.1 yard punt-return-average. He will attempt to become the first member of the Redskins to lead the NFL in punt return average since Brian Mitchell in 1994 (14.1).
  • With four catches, DeSean Jackson will record his 500th career reception, becoming the 16th active player in that club.
  • Needing just 29 yards for 1,000 yards this season, DeSean Jackson has gone over 100 yards receiving in three straight games and four of the Redskins last five games. 
  • One more touchdown of 60-yards or more will tie DeSean Jackson with the ultimate receiver royalty in Jerry Rice for TDs of 60+ yards. 
  • By starting Sunday, Brandon Scherff will join Chris Samuels (2000-01) and Jon Jansen (1999-2000) as the only Redskins offensive linemen to open their careers starting every game their first two seasons.
  • With one more interception, Josh Norman will tie his career high with four INTs. Norman had two picks last week in Chicago.
  •  Jordan Reed needs seven catches to become the 12th player with 250 receptions with the Redskins.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

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USA Today

Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

Don’t believe dumb internet rumors. Start there. 

Sunday night some fake Twitter accounts tweeted that a trade between the Redskins and Lions was very close, a deal that would ship productive WR Marvin Jones from Detroit to Washington in exchange for unproductive former first-round pick WR Josh Doctson.

What is to believe here? Next to nothing.

Jones is under Lions control for two more seasons and makes about $7 million a year. That’s tremendous value for somebody that posted 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns two seasons ago. Doctson has exactly 1,100 yards in his three-year NFL career. 

There is some speculation that Jones could be on the outs in Detroit, mostly because of the hard charging style of head coach Matt Patricia. Jones also missed half of last season with a knee injury and is still working his way back, missing all of Detroit's offseason work.

Even if Jones is on the outs with Patricia, and there are worries about the knee, he would command more in a trade than Doctson, who only has one year left on his contract. 

This is from Detroit Free Press Lions reporter Dave Birkett's mailbag last week: "Jones has two years left on his contract at very reasonable salaries of $6.5 million per season. The Lions would be foolish to move on from him right now. He provides more than most players at his salary, and it’s not like there are suitable replacements out there. Jones spent all spring working with the rehab group and I expect him to have a strong season this fall. I can’t imagine the Lions moving on from him at this point, unless we hit October and they’re struggling to keep their head above water. If that happens, all bets are off."

This also seems like a pertinent time to mention that Washington team president Bruce Allen spent last week in France. 

Allen makes the trades for the Redskins. Allen is the boss. He was out of the country last week, and probably not fielding trade phone calls from Cannes. 

To be fair, there have been conversations inside Redskins Park about moving Doctson for more than a year, including in the weeks leading up to the trading deadline last season. He hasn't been moved, however, and his trade value is probably at an all-time low after Washington decided not to exercise a fifth-year team option on his contract earlier this offseason. 

Could Marvin Jones help the Redskins' receiving group? Absolutely. 

But a trade requires much more than that. 

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9 movies Redskins fans should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL season

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Warner/Universal/Disney

9 movies Redskins fans should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL season

Redskins training camp doesn't begin until July 25, so you've got some time and need some football content in your life to hold you over.

Luckily, there are plenty of football movies out there, just waiting for you to watch them. But which ones should top your queue?

Here are nine of the best football films you need to throw on, both because they're entertaining and because they'll get you fired up for the 2019 Redskins season.

Friday Night Lights

If you ever find one of these lists and it doesn't include Friday Night Lights, never visit that website again. The game action in this is truly fantastic and just what you need if you're having trouble waiting to see Landon Collins destroy an opposing receiver.

The Replacements

It's not going to be the most amazing piece of cinema you've ever seen, but it offers a chance to see Keanu Reeves do something other than play John Wick, and is loosely based on the Redskins' scabs who came up clutch in the 1987 campaign.

Jerry Maguire

So this one doesn't involve much on-field play. However, it's still a quality drama and features some stellar performances. Plus, one of its signature lines — "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" — might be what Trent Williams is telling the Burgundy and Gold these days, too.

Remember the Titans

Look, it's not the most complex or surprising movie. But Denzel Washington is compelling as usual, it covers an important issue and the cast has some enjoyable chemistry. 

Any Given Sunday

Did this need to be almost as long as a regular season contest? No. With that being said, the cast is loaded as are the cameos, and of course, Al Pacino's speech is a smash hit. 

The Blind Side

The Blind Side has a little bit of everything, from comedy to drama to some tear-jerking moments. Sandra Bullock leads you through it all by turning in a heck of a few hours portraying Leigh Anne Tuohy, and she later won an Academy Award because of her work.

Invincible

Yes, Washington supporters will have to stomach seeing a lot of Eagles uniforms, yet this movie about Vince Papale miraculously making Philadelphia's roster is worth it. And you can follow it up with It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Invincible-inspired episode.

Undefeated

You may not know this one, but you should. It's documentary-style and follows a high school football team in Memphis as they try to navigate the ups and downs of a season and of their academic and personal lives. It's superb. 

Draft Day

It's flawed in places, but Draft Day is better than many think it is. Also, it'll allow you to reflect on what looks like a very promising 2019 Redskins draft class, an activity that'll always be fun.

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