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State of the Redskins: Still on the outside looking in at playoffs

State of the Redskins: Still on the outside looking in at playoffs

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 15 of the NFL season.

Record: 7-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 3-2
vs. NFC: 5-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 3-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 14

Offense (yards/game): 412.1 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 370.6 (26th, -3)
Points for: 330 (8th, +2)
Points against: 317 (22nd, -2)

Passer rating offense:  100.5 (5th, +3)
Opp passer rating: 94.2 (22nd, no change)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (6th, -1)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.5 (28th, +1)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 11.8% (8th, +2)
Playoff chances per FO: 49.5%, +8.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Their playoff chances jumped after they took a tumble following the loss to the Cardinals. Right now, their chances are just a shade below 50-50.

Trending the wrong way: They gave up a ton of yards, many of them empty, to the Eagles and they dropped three spots in total defense.  

Top three storylines:

Banged up backers—The Redskins are dealing with injuries to linebackers Will Compton, their signal caller in the middle, and Su’a Cravens, their nickel situation playmaker. They added veteran Nick Moody as a free agent but until he learns the defense he is an emergency option only. Martrell Spaight and Mason Foster will fill in for Compton and Cravens, respectively. It’s next man up.

Still chasing—The Redskins got absolutely no help in their attempt to make the playoffs for the second straight year for the first time since 1991-1992. The teams immediately in front of them in the wild card race, the Buccaneers and Giants, both won on Sunday as did the Packers and Vikings, the two teams a half game back. It’s getting late.

Norman vs. Panthers—There will be some buzz about Josh Norman playing against the team that he helped get to the Super Bowl last year. But the fact that the Panthers are 5-8 and struggling against the pass takes away some of the juice from the game. It will be a topic of conversation and there likely is some lingering anger on Norman’s part due to the way the Panthers pulled the franchise tag on him in April. But he landed on his feet financially and while he will talk to the media this week I think he will let his play on Monday night do most of the talking for him.

LATEST #RESKINSTALK PODCAST: Washington must turn the page to Cam Newton, Carolina

Next three games

Monday vs. Panthers (5-8)—It’s easy to look at the struggling Panthers and figure it should be a W for the Redskins. But Carolina has a lot of the same players who were in the Super Bowl last February and I don’t think that anyone is going to overlook them.  

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-10)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

New Year’s Day vs. Giants (9-4)—It’s quite possible that this game will be the start of the playoffs for the Redskins—win and they play on, lose and they go home. Norman vs. Beckham might take a back seat.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. Packers

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. Packers

Here is what you need to know on Thursday, September 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers  

Talking points

At 1-1 with Aaron Rodgers coming to town, the Redskins are under pressure to win. The spotlight will shine brighter on these players on Sunday afternoon. 

—Against the Colts, QB Alex Smith didn’t lose the game but he didn’t do much to lift the team, either. In particular, the 0-2 in the red zone was damaging with both failures coming at key points in the game. That’s not all on Smith but when the running game is struggling like it was on Sunday he has to elevate the team. He didn’t. He will have to play better—much better—if the Redskins are going to outscore the Packers. 

—The talk of Hogs 2.0 has just got to stop until the Redskins’ offensive line strings together a bunch of good games in a row. They were both beaten physically and out schemed against the Colts. That’s why the running backs had two rushing yards at halftime and only 22 for the game. All this took place while the Colts sat back in a soft Cover 2 zone, a defense that you should be able to run against.

—While many fans are complaining about the output of Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, who is usually the volume receiver in the offense, has the same number of catches as Doctson (5) for fewer yards (48-40). Crowder didn’t play at all in the preseason and missed considerable camp practice time with an undisclosed injury. Perhaps he just needs some time to get going. With the Packers coming to town, the Redskins will have to put up a lot of points to win and now would be a great time for Crowder to have a big game. 

—It’s hard to rattle Aaron Rodgers but like any quarterback, he doesn’t like immediate pressure in his face. It’s time for first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne to step up. Or, rather, they need to step forward and disrupt Rodgers if he tries to get rid of the ball quickly. We need to see either Payne registering his first career sack or Allen get his the second of his career and his first in a year (first was Week 3). Or, preferably, both. 

—The entire defensive backfield will be under pressure against Rodgers, tight end Jimmy Graham and receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. To pick one, I’ll go with Montae Nicholson. He hasn’t played poorly in the first two games. Some have blamed him for Andrew Luck’s two TD passes but one was just a perfect throw and one was a pick that worked to perfection. Regardless, he is supposed to be an impact play guy and he doesn’t have any big hits or takeaways through two games and a game-changing play from him would help. 

Injuries of note

Did not practice: S Troy Apke (hamstring), LB Zach Brown (oblique), G Shawn Lauvao (calf), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder)
Limited: Brandon Scherff (knee), Trent Williams (knee)

The agenda

Today: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Upcoming: Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 3; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 18; Cowboys @ Redskins 31

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler is locked into the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler


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Six acts that could have performed at Super Bowl LIII

USA Today

Six acts that could have performed at Super Bowl LIII

Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that the Adam Levine-led Maroon 5 will be the halftime show for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta

Football fans, music fans and citizens of Atlanta are having mixed feelings about the decision.

Many people are expressing that it could be worse, while others are wondering if the NFL did any research at all.

With Atlanta being one of the greatest music cities in the world, many people assumed that they would choose an artist who got their start there.

1. Outkast

'Alright, alright, alright, alright...' This was the obvious choice. Hip-hop fans have been dying for an Outkast reunion since their split in 2006.

Although they did reunite for festivals like Coachella and Bestival in 2014, fans have been begging for something on a worldwide scale. 

2.  Future

The born and raised Atlanta star has had four consecutive number one albums on Billboard's 200 chart; the first two making him the only musician in Billboard's history to debut back-to-back number one.

3. Migos

Quavo, Offset, Takeoff. Many of you are just finding out that this group is made up of three people; two brothers and their uncle.

Their unison in songs makes it hard to believe, but they each have a distinct style. Also: Quavo set Georgia state high school passing records at Berkmar High School.

4. Ludacris

The first to be signed to Def Jam South label. Three Grammys. Nine BET Awards. Ludacris was tabbed to make the Falcons' hype song for 2018. He is synonymous with southern rap and is as mainstream as it gets.

5. T.I. 

Began rapping at the age of eight, founded his own record label in 2003 and is a respected actor among the stars. 

6. Usher

He started making music at 15 and was a teen heartthrob, he is a household name... he's Usher? Enough said.