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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 31, seven days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Here are five pivotal games on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule:

Sept. 21 @ Eagles—Last year the Redskins weren’t competitive in either game against the eventual division champs. They can show that they’ve closed the gap starting here.

Sept. 26 vs. Giants—After coming back from Philly they turn around and host the Giants. It was one thing losing to Philly twice in 2013; dropping two to the Giants was a different matter. If the Redskins are even going to be mediocre they need to win games like this at home.

Oct. 19 vs. Titans—Yes, this is a nondescript game that few outside of Washington and Nashville will care about and that’s the point. Even when they’re good the Redskins tend to lay an egg at home against a team they should beat. This is a trap they need to avoid.

Nov. 2 @ Vikings—Minnesota has been every bit as mediocre as the Redskins since 2010 and they’ve met every year. The Vikings have won three of those four games. If they Redskins are indeed improved they should win this one.

Dec. 7 vs. Rams—This is similar to the situation with the Vikings. St. Louis hasn’t been very good but they still have beaten Washington in two of their three meetings since 2010

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Stat of the day

—Alfred Morris has rushed for 2,888 yards in his two seasons in the NFL. Only eight backs in NFL history have rushed for more yards in their first two seasons. If Morris gains 1,112 yards this year to get to 4,000 he will join a group of 12 players with that many rushing yards in their first three seasons in the league.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No availability

—It’s been 245 days since the Redskins played a game; in seven days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 14; Redskins @ Eagles 21; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 26

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 4923 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Matthew had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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