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Predicting the Redskins' 2014 games

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Predicting the Redskins' 2014 games

It’s difficult to try to predict the outcome of an NFL game 10 minutes before kickoff. It’s sheer folly  to do it about four and a half months before game time. But that’s never stopped me before. Here are my way, way, way too early 2014 predictions game by game.

(Home teams in bold)

Sept. 7 Texans 21, Redskins 17 The Redskins and Texans had remarkably similar falls last year, going from division champs in 2012 to the cellar of the NFL. Both teams are somewhere in between worst and first and the home team takes this one. (Redskins record: 0-1)

Sept. 14 Redskins 31, Jaguars 24 There aren’t many four- or five-year rebuilding programs in the NFL these days but the Jags are into the second year of theirs. They’re not there yet but the Redskins are probably glad they won’t have to face them again until 2018. (1-1)

Sept. 21 Eagles 30, Redskins 21 Yes, Donovan was triumphant in his return to Philly but Jackson won’t be quite as fortunate as the Redskins still will be struggling with tackling Shady McCoy. (1-2)

Sept. 25 (Thur.) Redskins 24, Giants 20 It’s a short week going in but they have the short trip to Philly the week before then they are at home. The Redskins didn’t play New York last year when Eli was throwing picks by the bushel. They’ll make up for it in this game with a few interceptions of Manning. (2-2)

Oct. 6 (Mon.)Seahawks 28, Redskins 24 Jay Gruden will need to have his team ready for prime time in a hurry with his fourth and fifth games both coming under the lights. Will this be the Redskins team that was in display in January of 2013 when Griffin and the offense were doing the hot knife through butter routine on the Seattle D during the first two drives? It could be but the Seahawks will find a way to win anyway. (2-3)

Oct 12 Cardinals 21, Redskins 14 A bit of a tough trip here with the Redskins traveling out west on a short week. The Redskins do have a shot here if Haslett’s attacking defense takes shape and Carson Palmer can be forced to throw a few passes up for grabs. But the Cardinals are a team on the rise and will be tough at home. (2-4)

Oct. 19 Titans 24, Redskins 10 At some point the Redskins will lay an egg at home and send the fans home cursing and scratching their heads. This is that point. (2-5)

Oct 27 (Mon.) Redskins 42, Cowboys 20 It’s hard to see how the Dallas defense is going to be much better this year than it was last year. In 2013 the Redskins didn’t have the weapons to exploit it; now they do. (3-5)

Nov 2 Redskins 28, Vikings 24 The franchise lost a lot of character when it moved from playing outdoors at The Met in Boomington into the Metrodome. But two months isn’t going to be enough to regain the edge they had. (4-5)

Week 19 (Nov. 9) BYE

Nov. 16 Redskins 17, Bucs 14 I’m not buying in to Lovie Smith doing a quick turnaround job in Tampa Bay. (5-5)

Nov. 23 49ers 24, Redskins 20 The Redskins were non-competitive against the 49ers in a Monday night game at FedEx last year. Washington will be improved but the 49ers are still much better. (5-6)

Nov. 30 Colts 35, Redskins 28 It’s somewhat surprsising that this one doesn’t get the prime time treatment with the marquee young QB’s involved. RG3 beat out Andrew Luck for the Heisman Trophy. Luck got drafted first overall, Griffin second. At home, Luck wins it on the scoreboard in the first of what will be infrequent meetings on the field. (5-7)

Dec. 7 Redskins 21, Rams 14 We won’t know who “won” the RG3 trade for a few more years but the Redskins should handle Sam Bradford and win this particular game. (6-7)

Dec. 14 Redskins 24, Giants 23 Remember the 2012 game at MetLife when Victor Cruz caught the bomb from Eli to win the game in the last two minutes? Think that game but with the outcome reversed with Griffin going to Jackson. (7-7)

Dec. 21 (Sat.) Redskins 38, Eagles 24 This is non-prime time but nationally televised. I think the Eagles will have something to play for here so a Redskins win will hurt them. Unlike the earlier meeting, DeSean gets his revenge in this one. (8-7)

Dec. 28 Cowboys 24, Redskins 21 I know that every Redskins fan out there loves to jump on the “Tony Romo is a choker” bandwagon. Fact is, he has many more successful comeback attempts than he has ones that end in interceptions. Like the one he engineered last December with the sprained back. And this one. (8-8)

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

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I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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