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Need to Know: Can Redskins' rushing defense turn it around vs. Giants?

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Need to Know: Can Redskins' rushing defense turn it around vs. Giants?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 25, four days before the Redskins host the New York Giants.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

—If the Redskins were getting set to play a random 5-5 team with middling rankings on both offense and defense at home, I’d have pretty strong feelings that the Redskins could win. But the Giants seem to be a bad matchup for Washington, winning six of the last seven over three-plus years. I’m not predicting they’ll lose at this point but I know I’ll find it difficult to pick the Redskins because of the name on the side of the other team’s helmets.

—After getting five turnovers from the Redskins last Sunday, the Panthers are tied the league lead with a plus-13 turnover ratio. The team they are tied with is the Giants. They do well on both sides of the ledger with 23 takeaways (T-2nd in NFL, 14 interceptions, 9 fumble recoveries) and just 10 giveaways (T-1st, 6 interceptions, four fumbles lost).

—Will this be the week that the Redskins break a six-game streak of giving up at least 140 yards rushing? The Giants have not posted 140 yards on the ground in a single game this season. They have been over 100 only twice, with a high of 132 against the Cowboys in Week 7.

—I’m not in the camp saying that Eli Manning is an “elite” quarterback. For that term to have any meaning you have to be talking about no more than about 10 percent of the group. Since there are 32 starting quarterbacks that means three or four are elite and Manning isn’t one of them. But he’s very, very good and now that he has adjusted to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system his completion percentage (64.6) is at a career high and his interception percentage (1.6) is at a career low.

—We’re not hearing as much out of Odell Beckham Jr. this year compared to his rookie year. That’s partly because the “new” has worn off and partly because he’s averaging 20 fewer yards per game. But he’s still very dangerous, averaging 86 yards per game and with more touchdown receptions (8) than all of the Redskins’ wide receivers combined (6).

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Giants @ Redskins 5; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Bears 19

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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