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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

In case you missed it

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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