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Need to Know: Key to the game—Redskins need to slow Eagles' sack attack

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Need to Know: Key to the game—Redskins need to slow Eagles' sack attack

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 14, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30 p.m.

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Lions 9; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 16

Around Redskins Park

Kirk Cousins has had success in his three career starts against the Eagles. The Redskins are 2-1 in those games and Cousins has thrown for an average of 360 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception and a passer rating of 105.1.

But those were different Eagles teams, especially defensively. It looks like defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has the Philly D going very well. They have gone from the middle of the pack in terms of pass defense to near the top of the heap.

There are many reasons why the Eagles are better against the pass but you really don’t need to look much further than their pass rush. Pass defense starts with pass pressure and the Eagles are one of two teams in the league who have sacked the quarterback on more than 10 percent of opponents’ pass attempts. The scary part for the Redskins is that they didn’t have one big game that inflated their pass rush stats. They have 14 sacks in four games and have three sacks in each of two games and four in each of the other two.

Fortunately for the Redskins, keeping Cousins upright is one of the strengths of the offense. They are third in the NFL when it comes to pass protection, allowing sacks on just 4.0 percent of pass plays. Part of this is an offensive line that is built for pass protection and part is Cousins’ ability to get rid of the ball quickly.

The line that will start on Sunday has been charged with just four sacks in five games, per Pro Football Focus. Morgan Moses has two on his ledger and Shawn Lauvao and Trent Williams have one each. Spencer Long has started two games and played half of a third and has not allowed a sack while Brandon Scherff has played every snap this year and has zero sacks.

It should be noted here that the Redskins have not faced the toughest of pass rushes so far this year. The highest ranked team in defensive sack percentage they have faced is the Ravens, who are 16th. They have also faced the Cowboys (21st), Browns (27th), Steelers (29th), and Giants (32nd). (Yes, Redskins fans are allowed to snicker at the non-performance of the Giants defense after they loaded up on free agents in the spring.)

One thing that Cousins needs to be careful of is ball protection. The Eagles have recovered four fumbles this year and three of them have come on sack and strip plays.

The key matchups will come on the offensive left side, the quarterback’s blind side. Half of the Eagles’ 14 sacks have come left DE Brandon Graham (3 sacks) and left DT Fletcher Cox (4). They likely will more around and stunt some so LT Williams and LG Lauvao will have their hands full.

I think that they key number here is three. If Philly gets fewer than three sacks of Cousins the Redskins have a good chance of winning. If they get more than three the home team probably is in trouble.

Tandler on Instagram

Good defensive play by Whitner. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on


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Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.

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Need to Know: Final look at Redskins-Cardinals—Bottling up David Johnson

Need to Know: Final look at Redskins-Cardinals—Bottling up David Johnson

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 4, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Cardinals 4:25 pm

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 7; Panthers @ Redskins 15; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 20

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Cardinals

—It needs to be a Ryan Kerrigan day if the Redskins are going to win. Or a Preston Smith day, something rarely seen this year. Or perhaps Arizonan Trent Murphy will get a couple of sacks for his friends and family. Carson Palmer has been ineffective this year because he has been under constant pressure. Washington needs to keep that up.

—It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Josh Norman and Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals don’t just put Fitz into the slot as a wrinkle; they do it all the time. Norman isn’t comfortable covering in the slot but Joe Barry and Jay Gruden will be very uncomfortable if Fitzpatrick dominates Kendall Fuller. Maybe they will try to start off with Norman on the outside but they will adjust quickly. I know I’ve been back and forth on this all week but the Redskins will not use their base defense very often since the Cardinals like to spread the field so much. There will be no “standard” set for this game.

—The Redskins gain 6.4 yards per play, second in the NFL. The Cardinals allow 4.7 yards per game, first in the NFL. As usual, Washington may have to get their score into the upper 20’s to win. That might require a takeaway or a big special teams play.

—A lot of running backs would like to be in a “slump” like the one David Johnson is in now. After gaining at least 83 yards in five straight games, including going over 100  yards in three straight, Johnson has a combined 240 rushing yards in his last four games. Sixty yards per game is respectable but not dominant. The Redskins will gladly sign up for that going in but the Cards will want to get him going against Washington’s leaky rushing defense.

—I think the Redskins will be able to pressure Palmer but Johnson probably has a big day on tap. Unlike some other teams who have played the Redskins this year, if the Cardinals get a good running game going they won’t abandon it. On the other side of the ball, the Redskins’ offense will be slowed down but not shut down. My prediction, which I make with no hesitation but without much confidence:

Redskins 27, Cardinals 21

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