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Redskins-Broncos: 5 keys and a prediction

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Redskins-Broncos: 5 keys and a prediction

Five things to look for in Redskins vs. Broncos plus a prediction:

1. This could probably go into every game preview in this and every other season but turnovers will be critical. The Broncos are plus-7 in the takeaway-giveaway ratio while the Redskins are at minus-1. Denver lost the turnover battle against the Colts on Sunday, giving it away three times and getting just one takeaway. The Broncos also lost the ball when Peyton Manning was sacked and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety. Not coincidentally, that game is the Broncos’ only loss.

2. Redskins fans will probably be relieved if the game is close at halftime, but if that’s the case it’s a typical Broncos game. Denver has outscored its opponents by just a combined 24 points in the first halves of their games (128-104). That means their average lead at halftime has been just three or four points. But Denver blows the doors off of the other team in the second half, piling up a margin of 77 points (170-93, 11 points/game). So root for the Redskins to have a solid halftime lead and maybe they will be able to hang on.

3. There is simply no excuse for the Redskins to kick to Trindon Holliday. Last week Devin Hester had a flashback to his former consistent brilliance. Holliday is in his prime right now. He has a touchdown on punt returns and he averaged 11.4 yards a pop. His kickoff return stat line features a 105-yard TD return and a dazzling 34.9-yard average.

4. The Denver running backs aren’t much to be concerned about as the team averages just 3.8 yards per rush. But running just isn’t a sidelight to Peyton Manning’s passing. They have run the ball 200 times (the league average per team is 178) and Knowshawn Moreno has a nose for the end zone with eight touchdown carries. It seems that whenever a team starts getting mesmerized by Manning along comes Moreno or Monte Ball to pop a run for a key first down. They probably aren’t going to get loose for a long run—the long run among the RB’s is just 25 yards—but their pieces to the puzzle that has the Broncos on pace to shatter the all-time single season scoring record.

5. Can the Redskins’ pass rush get to Manning? The Colts sacked him four times last Sunday and there’s no doubt that the Redskins will be taking a good, long look at the film from that game. One of the most amazing aspect of Manning’s and the Colts’ season on offense has been the fact that Ryan Clady, who has three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro honors on his resume, was able to play in just the first two games before going out for the season with a foot injury. Chris Clark, an undrafted four-year veteran, has filled in and the offense hasn’t missed a beat. Perhaps there is a way to exploit that matchup with Brian Orakpo and perhaps another pass rusher like Darryl Tapp or Rob Jackson.

I think that the Redskins can make this one interesting and they have a very outside chance of pulling off the upset. But it’s too small a chance for me to predict it.

Broncos 45, Redskins 35

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NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

On the field, Fabian Moreau makes plays from his cornerback slot that translate to the NFL game. Staying on the field has been a different matter though. 

In five seasons at UCLA, Moreau dealt with his fair share of adversity. He took a medical redshirt year in 2015, suffering a Lisfranc injury three games into the year. More devestating to his draft status, however, was an injury suffered during his Pro Day in late March. Moreau tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.

For many, that injury caused his slip from a possible fringe first rounder to Washington's prize with the 81st pick. It's possible Moreau will be back from injury by the time training camp opens, but it seems likely he begins the summer sessions in Richmond on the PUP list. 

At the combine, Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Serious speed, and it instantly makes the 6-foot, 206 lbs., Moreau the fastest corner on the Redskins.

In his senior season, Moreau grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumble and made 31 tackles. Not scared to get physical and play press coverage, Moreau's mindset should mesh well with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland as he looks to force his way to playing time. 

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Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

After taking Alabama DL Jonathan Allen in the first round and Crimson Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second, the Redskins drafted UCLA corner back Fabian Moreau in the third.

Moreau may have been drafted earlier but he suffered a torn pectoral lifting weights during his pro day. Although medical evaluations have said he should be ready to participate in training camp, he lasted until the 81st pick.

Moreau has good size at 6-0, 206 and he is a plus athlete. At the combine he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash. In 2016 he led the Bruins with six pass breakups and also two interceptions. He is also considered to be a good run defender.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.