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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Bills

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Bills

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 20, the day the Washington Redskins host the Buffalo Bills.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Bills

—Two Bills who were questionable on the final injury report, RB Karlos Williams (shoulder) and DE Mario Williams (illness), are both expected to play. Karlos, who has missed the last two games, provides some quality backup to LeSean McCoy with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Mario was a first-team All-Pro last year with 14.5 sacks but he has just four in 12 games this year.

—The Bills give up an average of 104 yards per game rushing. I think if they were honest the Redskins would sign up for that right now. Sure, they would like 150 yards or more with either Matt Jones or Alfred Morris carrying the load and going over 100. But it’s too much to expect things to click in the running game all of a sudden. If Kirk Cousins is generally as efficient as he has been at home lately around 100 yards should be enough.

—One area where the Redskins have a solid advantage over the Bills is at tight end. Jordan Reed is coming off of one of his best games of the seasons with nine targets, nine receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. He will go up against a Bills defense that is 11th in the league in fantasy points given up to tight ends. The Bills will be without starting tight end Charles Clay (51 rec., 571 yards, 3 TD), who is sidelined with a back injury. Chris Gragg, who has 9 receptions for 115 yards, will play in his place.

—The Bills have lost three of their last four games. In those three losses they have turned the ball over a total of five times. They had no turnovers in five of their six wins this year. You don’t have to have an advanced degree in football analytics to see what the Redskins will have to do to win this one.

—I’ve been going back and forth all week on this one. The Redskins are playing well at home but they did lay an egg against Dallas the last time they were there. It’s reasonable to expect Cousins to have a good day against a Bills pass defense that can’t get pressure and is in the middle of the road. Tyrod Taylor also should be able to throw the ball and Sammy Watkins is a dangerous weapon. I think it will come down to the Redskins’ ability to stop the run. They have allowed less than 100 yards rushing in each of their last three games. If they can do that against McCoy, Karlos Williams, and the scrambling Taylor they should come out with a hard-fought win. If they go off for a buck fifty on the ground, the home team will be in trouble.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Bills 1:00 p.m. FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 6; Redskins @Cowboys 14; start of NFL playoffs 20

In case you missed it

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

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.