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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.

Nickel coverage

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 plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips