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Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 15, 13 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 96 days ago. It will be 150 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 3; 2016 NFL draft 13; Redskins training camp starts 104

Hot topic

The NFL released the 2016 schedule last night and now it’s time for my annual foolish endeavor. Even though it’s difficult to pick the winner of an NFL game five minutes before kickoff, I’m going to try to pick the winners of each of the Redskins’ games right now, almost five months before the first one kicks off. Here we go:

Week 1—Steelers 24, @Redskins 20 I’m not sure that the Steelers fans will take over FedEx Field to the extent that they did in 2008 but the Redskins had better be ready with their silent counts just in case the Terrible Towels get rolling. A tough opener against Big Ben and company. (0-1)

Week 2—@Redskins 24, Cowboys 21 I’m not so sure the Redskins will have revenge for their 2015 home loss to Dallas on the top of their minds but any motivation will help. The visitors should have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant at full strength so the Redskins had better have an improved defense. (1-1)

Week 3—@Giants 17, Redskins 14 Are they good enough to win in the Meadowlands yet? They went to MetLife in Week 3 last year feeling pretty confident and they got beaten pretty soundly. Big test but I don’t think they are there yet. (1-2)

Week 4—@Redskins 34, Browns 17 RG3 or not RG3? The NFL may have waited a week or two too long for this one if they want to have Griffin returning to his former field of glory. We’ll know a lot more in a couple of weeks when we see if and when the Browns draft a quarterback. (2-2)

Week 5—@Ravens 24, Redskins 21 The Ravens will be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year. Were their problems last year injury related or have they taken a step back that will take a year or two to recover from? If they’re even part of the way back they will be tough to beat at home. (2-3)

Week 6—@Redskins 20, Eagles 10 They have a new head coach, an unsettled situation at quarterback, and some other issues. They have the look of a 6-10 team and the Redskins should be able to handle them at home. (3-3)

Week 7—Redskins 30, @ Lions 13 The Redskins get that first road win of the year before December this time around. With no Calvin Johnson, the Lions are rebuilding as they have been since 1956. (4-3)

Week 8—Redskins 24, Bengals 20 (London) A week after their road breakthrough they go across the Atlantic and beat a team that will finish the season with a winning record. The Redskins have a much stronger fan base in the UK and it should resemble a home game in terms of crowd noise. (5-3)

Week 9—Bye Right smack in the middle of the schedule.

Week 10—Vikings 24, @ Redskins 17 There will be plenty of reasons to think that the Redskins will win this one, at home, on a three-game winning streak, and coming off of the bye. Sounds like a trap. (5-4)

Week 11—@ Redskins 35, Packers 31 Right after they lose one you think they should win they do the opposite. (6-4)

Week 12—@ Cowboys 28, Redskins 20 Maybe they can play Sunday night, prepare for two days, get on a plane to Dallas, and beat the Cowboys. But it’s hard for me to see it. (6-5)

Week 13—@Cardinals 31, Redskins 30 We’re in December now and who knows who will be healthy for either team by then. (6-6)

Week 14—Redskins 27, @Eagles 10 The Redskins score their second consecutive sweep of their division rivals. (7-6)

Week 15—Panthers 28, @ Redskins 21 I think the Redskins will have closed the gap with the Panthers and they will have home field advantage but I still don’t think the home team will quite be ready for prime time. (7-7)

Week 16—@ Bears 17, Redskins 14 The Bears will be better under John Fox. The Redskins had a couple of breaks go their way and escaped with a win at Soldier Field last December. I think the breaks will even out in December of 2016 and the Bears will get the win (7-8)

Week 17—@ Redskins 35, Giants 21 The Redskins go in needing three other teams to lose to have a shot at the playoffs. The do their part but they don’t get in. (8-8)

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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