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Need to Know: The Redskins' road ahead

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Need to Know: The Redskins' road ahead

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 6, seven days before the Redskins fact the Cowboys in Dallas.

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Of the 12 games remaining on their schedule there are some that the Redskins are likely to lose even if they improve to their 2012 form. And there are some that they should win even if they are off their game somewhat. That leaves a handful of games that should decide if they will have a return trip to the playoffs on their calendars in January or if they will be going home. Here are those five games in the order they fall on the schedule:

1. Oct. 13 @ Cowboys: Your next game is always your most important one. If Dallas loses to the Broncos today as expected the game could be for first place in the NFC East. The Redskins will not lack for confidence going into Dallas after sweeping the Cowboys last year.

2. Oct. 20 vs. Bears: I’m sure that FedEx Field season ticket holders are well aware that the Redskins are winless at home this year. The Bears have been putting up some points this year behind Jay Cutler, who was Mike Shanahan’s handpicked franchise quarterback in Denver. Robert Griffin III, Shanahan’s handpicked franchise QB here, will have to have the offense moving.

3. Nov. 17 @ Eagles: Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense has continued to churn out yards since the shock and awe display in the season opener at FedEx Field (2nd in NFL in yards gained) but they haven’t translated the yards into points very well (24.8 ppg., 12th). We’ll see if a game of experience against Kelly can give the defense what it needs to give the Washington offense a chance to exploit the Eagles’ struggling defense.

4. Nov. 25 vs. 49ers: This looked like one of those sure losses when the schedule came out but now it appears to be a competitive game. The Super Bowl loser hangover appears to be in full effect in San Francisco and with Colin Kaepernick struggling to find the form that had many counting him among the game’s elite quarterbacks (sound familiar?) this should be a very competitive game.

5. Dec. 8 vs. Chiefs: Under Andy Reid they have already doubled their 2012 win total and in the process they have helped out the Redskins. Kansas City has beaten each of the other three members of the NFC East, helping Washington stay in the race despite the early struggles. We will see if they are still on a roll in December.

In case you missed it

Sun 09.29

Mon 09.30

Tue 10.01

Wed 10.02

Thur 10.03

Fri 10.04

Sat 10.05

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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. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!