Quick Links

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

baker-celebrate-vs-cowboys.png

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

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 10, the day the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

Today’s the day, folks. Here is my last look at the game.

—I took a look at the video of Packers against the Vikings and while the Packers offensive line certainly was leaky without left tackle David Bakhtiari, Aaron Rodgers still have some time to find receivers. Most of the five sacks against him came after he had a chance to scan the field and look at one or two receivers. He also made a few of his signature plays while running out of the pocket. The Redskins defensive backs are going to have to stick with their receivers.

—I tweeted this out a couple of days ago:

The part about McCarty and Rodgers being frustrated comes from this article, based on interviews conducted with the coach and quarterback about their relationship on Thursday afternoon, some 72 hours before kickoff of a playoff game. At about the same time, Jay Gruden was at the podium at Redskins Park explaining why Chris Baker was not at practice. “His wife had a baby – baby girl – so congratulations to Chris,” said Gruden with a smile. “Hopefully she looks like his wife.” I’m not sure if the looser team usually wins or not but I think I’d rather be where the Redskins are than where the Packers are.

—Who is the better quarterback in this afternoon’s game? You have to say it’s Aaron Rodgers. He did not forget how to play football this year after being the league’s MVP in 2014. But that question is not a relevant as this one—which team has the better passing attack? The way he is playing right now Kirk Cousins does not represent a large drop off from Rodgers. And his primary weapons—Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jamison Crowder—are a cut or two above the group that Rodgers is throwing to. Washington has the better passing attack. So the debate about the quarterbacks may be over a distinction without a difference.

—While I think that the team that passes the ball better will win the game, I’m not going to ignore the importance of the running game. The Redskins have been able to gloss over their problems stopping the run lately by scoring 30 or more points in their last three games. Washington hasn’t been able to get its running game going but in their last four games the Packers have allowed 170, 121, 120, and 151 yards on the ground. If Green Bay can run the ball they will be able to keep the game close. If the Redskins can run it, they could win a laugher.

—The playoffs are a very different feeling for those of us who cover the game. For 17 weeks we are in a rhythm of games, press conferences, locker room sessions, and, for half of the games, traveling. Tomorrow we might be be going to Gruden’s Monday press conference at 3 p.m., looking forward to another week of news conferences and chatting in the locker room, and making frantic travel plans to get to Phoenix or Charlotte. Or we could be covering the players cleaning out their lockers for the offseason and talking to Gruden for the last time until the combine in late February. I think that we will be getting ready for another week of football and getting ready to go to Arizona. But I can’t dismiss the possibility that Rodgers finds a way to get it done and seeing everything come to an abrupt end.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Packers, FedEx Field, 4:40 p.m., FOX

Days until: NFL divisional playoffs start 6; Super Bowl 50 28

In case you missed it

Quick Links

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

Quick Links

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. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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