Washington Redskins

Fantasy Football: AFC North

Fantasy Football: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens (12-4, 378 Points For, lost in AFC Championship Game): Forget everything you thought you knew about the Ravens, the flow is changing. The aging defense is no longer a dominant unit, and sack-master Terrell Suggs could be down for the season. As a result, the games will be more open this year, on both sides. QB Joe Flacco seems ready for more responsibility on offense, and receiver Torrey Smith was an uncoverable monster all summer. You'll land Smith as your third or fourth wideout in most drafts, but he's capable of a Top 15 year at the position. Anquan Boldin can still grab 65-75 passes, but he's not a deep threat and his touchdown upside is limited. Ray Rice is a known commodity, a Top 3 back on anyone's board. If you're in a deeper league and feel the need to handcuff, the backup is Bernard Pierce. That said, Rice has been very durable as a pro.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 325 PF, lost in Wild Card Round): Todd Haley has his share of detractors, but his offensive methods are well-respected and he should do a fine job with the Steelers offense, in time. But for 2012, we worry about the offensive line and what it will allow Pittsburgh to accomplish. Isaac Redman (groin) is no sure thing in the backfield and Rashard Mendenhall is coming off a major knee injury; with that in mind, earmark summer sleeper Jonathan Dwyer for the late rounds. Ben Roethlisberger is still a Top 12 fantasy quarterback, when he's allowed to stand and fire. Mind you, Big Ben runs into a few sacks himself by holding the ball too long. Antonio Brown could ascend to the No. 1 receiver spot, and he's a good bet for 7-9 scores this year after being touchdown-unlucky last year. Mike Wallace is a dynamite deep threat, though he's unhappy about his contract and blew off most of the summer. Brown's progress (and lucrative contract extension) might wind up bothering Wallace, too. Buyer beware.
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7, 344 PF, lost in Wild Card Round): A bunch of things fell right for the surprise Bengals last year, and they were happy to take advantage of a soft schedule. Cincinnati never beat a team with a winning record in 2011, so be careful when you judge this roster. QB Andy Dalton was a quick study and should be a decade-long starter, though he's not a special talent by any means. But so long as he keeps pitching the ball to electric WR A.J. Green (now there's an elite player, a Top 5 pass-catcher), everyone in the Queen City will be happy. There's no solid No. 2 wideout here, which means tight end Jermaine Gresham will be targeted liberally. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a straight-line runner with no lateral agility, but he never fumbles and he's reliable around the goal line. Look for a boring 1,100 yards and 7-9 touchdowns, the type of year Cedric Benson used to give us. Try to secure Green-Ellis as your third back.
Cleveland Browns (4-12, 218 PF): Most NFL clubs viewed Brandon Weeden as a so-so prospect, someone to consider in the third or fourth round of April's draft. Part of the bearish nature was tied to Weeden's age - he's already 28, having spent several years as a baseball prospect. The Browns wrote their own memo on Weeden and pounced in the first round, 22nd overall pick. Obviously they'll give him a chance to play right away, for better or for worse. Weeden's college stats were floated by a wide-open spread offense, but the Browns don't have the personnel to run that here. At least there's second-year receiver Greg Little on the outside, a budding star. Running back Trent Richardson was a respected pick at the No. 5 slot, but he needed a knee scope in early August. If he can heal up quickly, he'll run behind an underrated offensive line; while the Browns don't have an answer at right tackle yet, they do have two blocking stars in LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack. Montario Hardesty has settled in as the backup tailback, and could be an interesting sleeper if Richardson is slow off the mark. Cleveland's underrated defense should keep things surprisingly competitive, but this will be another losing year by the lake.

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The Redskins just obliterated the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

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USA TODAY Sports Images

The Redskins just obliterated the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ impressive 27-10 win over the Raiders:

First quarter

—Derek Carr’s first pass of the night was deep and it hung up in the air long enough for rookie safety Montae Nicholson to pick it off. He made a return into Raiders territory but intended receiver Amari Cooper just grazed him on the way down and Washington got the ball at its own 33. A good, athletic play by Nicholson.

—The Redskins turned that takeaway into seven points. The big play was a 26-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Vernon Davis that converted a third down. In all it was five Samaje Perine runs and three Cousins passes. The last one went to Chris Thompson on third and five and it went 22 yards for the touchdown. The running back was uncovered coming out of the backfield.

—It should be noted that the five Perine runs in that drive only gained nine yards but they kept the Raiders defense guessing.

—The Redskins got two sacks and an interception in the Raiders’ first two possessions. In Oakland’s first two games Carr had been sacked just twice and he had not thrown an interception.

—A sloppy series for the Redskins in their second possession. A couple of penalties and a pass completed for a loss of three led to a three and out when they had a chance to really grab the momentum.

—Preston Smith brought Marshawn Lynch down on a third and two, fighting off the back’s signature move, the stiff arm, to do it.

MORE REDSKINS: Several Redskins take a knee during anthem

Second quarter

—While the Raiders were struggling without a first down, penalties and a sack ended Redskins’ drives to try to extend their lead. Carr is 1-5 passing and the Raiders don’t have a first down three minutes into the second quarter.

—The Raiders had Lynch in the backfield on third and one near midfield but Kendall Fuller was all over Seth Roberts and he got the interception. Odd play selection.

— The Redskins got going after the Fuller interception. It was two Perine runs for a first down and then Cousins to Ryan Grant for 14. Perine went up the middle for eight and the Terrelle Pryor got both feet in on a sideline pass for 12 yards to the Oakland 27. Jamison Crowder made a nice grab to convert a third and six. On third and nine at the 18, Cousins eased a nice pass to Vernon Davis in the end zone. The veteran celebrated with the now-legal jump shot over the goal post.

—A Ryan Kerrigan tackle for a seven-yard loss on a run and a hard open-field tackle by Zach Brown on third down gives the Redskins a shot at a score with 1:42 left in the half.

— Chris Thompson had a 13-yard run and a gain of 23 on a screen pass to start off the Redskins’ last drive of the half. He was great with the ball in his hands on both plays, picking up blocks and gaining everything he could before going out of bounds. But a replay review negated a first down and the Redskins punted it away and took their 14-0 lead into the locker room.

— In the first half, Cousins was 17-19 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The machine says that’s a 139.7 passer rating. That’s two touchdowns and two incompletions. Redskins lead in first down 11-2, net yards 223-47, and time of possession 20:20-9:40.

Third quarter

— A holding call set up a first and 20 on the Redskins on their first possession of the second half. Chris Thompson got 16 of it on pass and the got the last four for the first down on another reception. On the next play, Cousins launched a deep one to Josh Doctson. He grabbed the ball away from the cornerback and nonchalantly stepped into the end zone to complete the 52-yard touchdown play. The PAT put the Redskins up 21-0. It was Doctson’s first catch of the season.

—The defense knew how to respond to the big lead. Kerrigan got a sack for a loss of five, D.J. Swearinger flew in and knocked down Lynch on a run and then Jonathan Allen got another sack. A poor punt and an 18-yard return by Crowder set the Redskins up in Oakland territory at the 41.

—That drive ended with Dustin Hopkins having plenty of leg on a 52-yard field goal but it was wide left.

—At the midway point of the third quarter the Raiders’ deepest drive was to the Washington 48 just before the Fuller interception.

—The Raiders went three and out but Crowder muffed the put and Oakland was in business at the Washington 18. It was costly as two plays later Carr went to Jared Cook for 21 yards and a touchdown. The visitors had life at 21-7.

—It looked like the Redskins were going to have to punt the ball back to the Raiders but on third and 19 a screen to Thompson picked up 74 yards to the Oakland 10. It’s that kind of night for the Redskins’ offense.

—They tried a gadget play on third goal at the four but a shovel pass to Crowder lost a yard. I’m not sure about that. Hate to say it but wouldn’t a fade have been better? The ensuing field goal did make it a three-score game at 24-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter

—The Redskins continue to stop the Raiders on third downs with big hits. It looked like Michael Crabtree was going to haul in a pass for a nice gain on third and 11 but the ball tipped off his hands and Nicholson made sure he didn’t get a second chance with a good smack.

—The Raiders got another red zone turnover when Perine coughed it up and the Raiders recovered at the 12. A pass interference call gave the Raiders a first down at the Redskins’ four.

— After the penalty, Deshazor Everett nearly intercepted the first-down pass, Bashaud Breeland got two hands on the second and pressure forced a third-down incompletion. A field goal pulled the Raider to within two touchdowns. A top-notch defensive stand.

— Following the Raiders field goal, it was Cousins to Crowder for 30 yards to get into Oakland territory at the 44. Then it was Thompson for eight and then for seven, Mack Brown for 11 into the red zone, Brown for six, and Thompson for no gain. After Cousins ran for two yards on third and four, a Hopkins field goal restored the Redskins’ three-score lead.

—It was nothing doing for the Raiders as a holding call left them with a fourth and 23. The pass was complete but Seth Roberts was well short of the first down and Kendall Fuller forced a fumble that Martrell Spaight recovered.

—The Raiders finished the game zero of 11 on third downs. They got over 100 yards of offense on the night only during a garbage time possession in the last minute.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Josh Doctson's first TD of the year was immaculate

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Josh Doctson's first TD of the year was immaculate

It took a full season and three weeks for Redskins fans to get a real glimpse of Josh Doctson.

But when the second-year TCU wide reciever got his number called on Sunday night against the Raiders, he made the most of it.

On the Redskins' first possesion of the second-half, Kirk Cousins looked deep downfield on a play-action pass.  

Doctson was being covered by former Redskin David Amerson. But Doctson did what the scouting report says he does best: He goes up and get the ball.

RELATED: REDSKINS-RAIDERS LIVE BLOG

It's Doctson's first touchdown of 2017 was a beauty. Is there more of this to come?

Let's hope so.