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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ--Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 25, the day the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Giants 1 p.m. FOX

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Ravens 14; Eagles @ Redskins 21

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

—News came out this morning that Rashad Jennings, who is the Giants’ leading rusher, will be out with a broken thumb. That will have some impact on today’s game but Shane Vereen has been taken about 40 percent of the Giants rushing attempts so far this year and he is a more than capable fill in.

—Contrary to what you might think when a team is 2-0 the Giants are upside down in turnover margin. They have lost three fumbles and Eli Manning has thrown an interception. Rarely will a team that’s minus-four be 2-0 but they have survived. That either means that the Giants are resilient or that they or lucky. Or maybe a little of both. If the Giants have a negative margin today and still win the Redskins will be kicking themselves over a lost opportunity.

—In fact, against the Saints last week the Giants did not score an offensive touchdown, getting their only TD on a return of a blocked field goal attempt. And they lost those three fumbles. Since merger only four teams have won a game with no offenive touchdowns and a negative turnover margin. You might remember the last time it happened. It was the Bears beating the Cardinals in 2006 and the result had Arizona coach Dennis Green shouting “They are who we thought they were! And we let them off the hook!” Clearly the Saints let the Giants off the hook but Sean Peyton didn’t explode at the podium.

—The Giants are also underwater in sacks, getting two of them while giving up four. The Redskins will hope to add to the deficit today as second-year player Bobby Hart will fill in for injured right tackle Marshall Newhouse. Hart could be a matchup that Ryan Kerrigan can exploit. Meanwhile Olivier Vernon, who signed an $85 million free agent contract with the Giants last spring, has barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and three tackles in two games. He will be matched up against Trent Williams.

— Will desperation overcome the Meadowlands jinx? I don’t think that it will. The problem is that the Redskins really don’t have anything to hang their hats on right now. The major facets of the game—running the ball, stopping the run, passing, pass defense—are all malfunctioning to one degree or another. Things could fall into place and the Redskins could come away with a win, perhaps an easy one. But based on what I’ve seen I can’t predict that.

Giants 24, Redskins 20

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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.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension