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Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

It’s a little early in the week, perhaps, to be making bold predictions, especially since I will answer to them next week (for those of you who didn’t read this space last year, I will always go back and review my predictions gone wrong and ‘fess up). However, this week there really isn’t much purpose in waiting, in examining the moods of the teams during practice, checking out any last-minute shifts in the injury report, seeing what the weather will be like at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been known to agonize for thousands of words before coming up with a tentative prediction. Not this time. This one is easy. The Redskins will trash the Chicago Bears.

There is only one matchup that I need to know about—Kyle Orton vs. Gregg Williams. The Bears’ rookie QB may have potential to be a good pro quarterback, but this is the first NFL game he has ever participated in in any way, shape, or form except perhaps as a spectator when he was in high school. Williams, on the other hand, has coached in a couple of hundred NFL games. Whether his team is matched up against the likes of Orton or against a 10-year veteran with Hall of Fame credentials, his goal is always the same—rattle the opposing quarterback.

Orton will have the opportunity to meet, up close and personal, nearly every member of the Redskins’ defense. He’ll get introduced to Cornelius Griffin when the Redskins’ defensive tackle puts his facemask into Orton’s sternum. He’ll only get a quick glance at Shawn Springs before the cornerback plants his back into the FedEx Field turf. It’s unlikely that he’ll see LaVar Arrington before he helps him off of the grass since the linebacker will be coming from Orton’s blind side. Finally, when Sean Taylor comes after him from who knows where, Orton will want the license number of the truck that hit him. Note to Kyle, it will be # 21.

In all, Orton will have to consider himself fortunate if he can drop back and be comfortable in the pocket more than five or six times. The rest of the time he will either be running for his life or accumulating grass stains from having been slammed to the ground so often.

With Orton being slapped silly, who on the Bears is going to generate any offense? Muhsin Muhammad can’t make a catch if his quarterback more time on his back than a hooker at a convention in Vegas. Thomas Jones might sneak through for a few yards here and there, perhaps he could break one for 30 yards or so, but he can’t carry the team against the Redskins’ defense. So who else is there? Justin Gage? Desmond Clark? Very, very unlikely.

Not so fast, my friend, you might say. The Redskins’ offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut either and the Bears defense can’t exactly be described as soft. True those. Chicago’s cover two defense isn’t a good matchup for a team that wants to establish a deep passing game as the Redskins do. True that.

There are a couple of flaws in the scenario that says that neither team will score much and that the game will come down to a late break. One of them is that the Redskins’ offensive line is one of the elite units in the game. Note the lack of qualifiers such as they “might” be or they have the “potential” to be elite. They are right now. All five of them, Samuels, Dockery, Rabach, Thomas, and Jansen, could start for most of the teams in the NFL. They’re good blocking for the run and they’re good against the pass rush. Every member of the line won’t make the Pro Bowl but every one of them has a shot at it. They won’t allow the Chicago front four to generate the pass rush that they need.

The other factor is Clinton Portis. He ran for 171 yards the last time the two teams met in Chicago in 2004, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. It was too bad that the Redskins really hadn’t figured out how to use Portis in the offense as they have by now or he really could have done some damage. On Sunday, he’ll follow the zone blocking from the Redskins’ elite offensive line and put up over 150 yards and score a pair of touchdowns.

Despite the prowess of the line and the productivity of Portis, the Redskins won’t put up a lot of points. Patrick Ramsey will make some plays for both teams. Thomas Jones’ running could set up a score or two for the Bears, but they will only be three pointers. Perhaps those who only see the score in the paper on Monday will think it was a fairly competitive game.

But those who watch the game will know otherwise. The Redskins will dominate on defense from start to finish, they will get their offense in control by halftime and will trash the Bears by a score of:

Washington 17, Chicago 6







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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss. While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest. Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. EST kick, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances