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Need to Know: Five bold predictions for the 2016 Redskins

Need to Know: Five bold predictions for the 2016 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 9, three days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 11:55; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conference and player availability after practice approx. 1:15

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 243 days ago. It will be three days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 9; Browns @ Redskins 23; Redskins @ Ravens 30

2016 Redskins bold predictions

Here are some long-shot predictions for the 2016 Redskins. They are best-case scenarios that will need everything going right plus a little bit of luck to for them to come to fruition. I did this a year ago and two of the five turned out to be correct.

Matt Jones will rush for 1000 yards—Normally saying that a starting running back has a chance to rush for 1000 yards in a season would not be very bold but there are a lot of questions surrounding Jones. If he runs as well as he is capable of, the only thing that will keep him from topping 1000 would be a lack of carries. An average of 4.0 per carry is a reasonable goal and with 250 carries he will get his 1000. An injury or someone like Rob Kelley taking carries from him will keep him short.

Ziggy Hood will get 7 sacks—Yes, I’ve gone from a guy who, at the start of training camp, predicted that Hood would not make the final 53 to a big fan of his play. He’ll have to stay healthy and play well for 16 games to make this happen and the defense will have to be playing with a lead consistently. But he has the ability to have a late-career revival season.

Preston Smith will be in DPOY discussion—This is probably the longest shot on the board here. Second-year players who didn't really come on until the end of their rookie years usually don't get serious defensive player of the year considerations. I don’t think he’ll win it but he could get a combination of sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and defensive touchdowns to raise some eyebrows.

Kirk Cousins will have a 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio—I’m thinking 30 touchdowns to six interceptions but it could be closer to 35 and seven. This would not require any vast improvement over last year, just a continuation of his last 10 games last year when he rang up 23 and three.

The Redskins will win 11 games—I see this is their best-case scenario, a number they could reach with a reasonable amount of good fortune. The key would be going 5-1 against the NFL East. Even if they aren’t at the level to be able to beat the Cardinals or Panthers they could get to 11 by winning three out of four against the NFC North and against the AFC North. Home games will be the key. They play only one true road game against a team that had a winning record (Cardinals). If they take care of business at FedEx Field they have a chance to have their highest win total since 1991.

Tandler on Twitter Instagram

Crowder with a nice catch in the corner. #Redskins

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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