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Redskins vs. Cowboys Bold Predictions

Redskins vs. Cowboys Bold Predictions

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins.

This game is a pivotal moment for the Washington Redskins, for two reasons.

First, the Redskins need to continue to win against the mass of mediocrity in the NFL and the Cowboys are firmly in that group. A team can do quite well winning the games it should win and Washington needs to establish itself as one that does that with regularity.

The second reason revolves around the numbers .176 and .071. Those represent the Redskins winning percentage in the division in the last three years and against the Cowboys in their last 14 meetings. Certainly, the latter is a major factor in the former. The Redskins have to prove that they can beat the Cowboys if they are to become the team that they and their fans expect them to be. If you start off your season by penciling in two losses to a division rival, especially one that often is on or below your level, you’re in a serious hole.

This one seems simple. Both teams are 5-9 but seem to headed in very different directions. The Redskins are dead set on finishing their season on a high note. They have a lot of the pieces for 2005 in place already and want to build some momentum and energy for next year. Their playoff hopes are slim, but that is keeping them motivated as well.

Dallas has even longer odds of making the postseason and they aren’t using that as any kind of motivation. They don’t quite know who among them will be around for 2005 as many positions, especially quarterback, are in various states between flux and turmoil. Bill Parcells have spent the virtually the whole season telling his team how dumb they are and how poorly they are playing. It appears that they are beginning to believe him.

In the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, columnist Randy Galloway sums up the differences between the two teams quite nicely:

The Gibbs bashing will come to a sudden end next season.

While both he and Parcells share blame at the moment for their teams' miserable years, the NFL of today is all about sudden turnarounds.

Depending on Ramsey, the Redskins have the people in place to totally flip things next season.

This can be a good team in '05. Real good.

And Gibbs is now giving his young quarterback the learning room.

Of course, that optimism for the future is the fork in the road when it comes to the current plight of Gibbs and Parcells.

What exactly is the Cowboys' future?

What about the defense? What about the quarterback?

The best guess six months ago was that Parcells was loading up for '05, and using this season to identify his key pieces and needs.

If that was actually the case, we now know the needs far outweigh the pieces.

Both stellar coaches today at Texas Stadium have a 5-9 record.

But there's a difference; a big difference.

So, it’s an easy Redskins win, right? Not so fast. Among those 13 losses in the last 14 games were quite a few where Washington seemed to have the upper hand. In 1999, the Redskins took the NFC East title despite two losses to an 8-8 Dallas team. In 2001, the Redskins were streaking, having won their last five and the Cowboys were reeling. At FedEx Field, it was Dallas 20, Washington 14. I’m sure it’s not necessary to go through the whole litany, you get the idea.

It’s just very difficult to get a feeling for one of these games because things rarely unfold as think they will, or even as it appears they will as the game progresses. That goes back to Clint Longley and ’79 in Texas Stadium. But here’s a stab at it.

  • One of the pieces of the puzzle that the Cowboys know will be in place next year is rookie running back Julius Jones, who has been impressive after returning from a shoulder injury four games ago. He had three straight 100-yard performances before being held to 80 against the Eagles last week. Look for him to get about half that against the Redskins defense, the best in the NFC against the run.
  • The last time the two teams met, Vinny Testaverde was a hot quarterback. Now he’s contemplating retirement. He passed for 214 yards in the first meeting this year. To give you an indication as to how unimpressive a performance that was, Mark Brunell passed for 111 yards more than that. Still, he was the winning quarterback that Monday night and he is always dangerous. He’ll get his couple of hundred passing but I think he’ll face a bit more pressure and will take a couple of sacks and throw an interception or two.
  • Patrick Ramsey will continue to progress as he looks to being the unquestioned starter from the first minicamp of 2005. Pencil him in for an efficient but not spectacular performance, say a QB rating of 95.
  • Clinton Portis needs 217 yards to become the first NFL player ever to rush for 1,500 yards or more in each of his first three seasons and 148 to become the team’s single-season record holder for rushing yards in a season. He’ll get about halfway to the first record and will be on the doorstep on the second one when this game is over.

As has been the case all year, the defense will take care of business. The offense will get enough done to win:

Redskins 24, Cowboys 14

Yes, I know I said earlier this year that I wouldn’t pick the Redskins to beat the Cowboys until they actually did it. But that was my own rule and I’m entitled to break it!

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Evaluating the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys' 2017 first-round draft picks

Evaluating the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys' 2017 first-round draft picks

Redskins fans can be forgiven for not caring at all about the other 31 picks made in the 2017 NFL Draft's first round on Thursday, since Washington was handed Jonathan Allen at No. 17.

With that being said, other selections were in fact made by other teams, including the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. So what are analysts saying about how the rest of the NFC East did on the first night of the big event?

Here's a breakdown.

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM NOW HAS THREE OF THE NATION'S TOP RECRUITS FROM 2013

Philadelphia Eagles - Derek Barnett (No. 14)

As the Redskins got closer to being on the clock and top talents like Allen, Reuben Foster and Malik Hooker were still available, every pick before Washington came with a side dish of angst. The Eagles, however, bypassed all three of those prospects for Barnett, a productive pass rusher from Tennessee. 

Reaction to the pick

Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated: "Many felt the Eagles’ biggest need was cornerback, but in a zone scheme like Jim Schwartz’s, pass rushers are more important... Barnett was a prolific sacker in college and will operate across from Brandon Graham, one of the league’s most underrated edge-attackers." 

Mike Mayock of NFL.com"I love the energy. I love the toughness. People either loved or they didn't like him because he didn't have explosive measurables in the combine. But his tape is too good and I think the city of Philadelphia is going to love him."

Pete Prisco of CBSSports"Love this pick. They might be getting the best pass rusher in this draft."

New York Giants - Evan Engram (No. 23)

Eli Manning has himself another target, and this one reminds Charley Casserly of Redskins' tight end Jordan Reed. Some projected other tight ends, like David Njoku, to go before Engram, but New York clearly liked him enough to select him in the first. 

Reaction to the pick

Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated​: "It had become painful watching Giants tight ends Will Tye and Larry Donnell play... At worst, Engram can rectify the catching problem. At best, he can revolutionize an already scary passing game."

Mike Mayock of NFL.com: "He's a matchup nightmare. He can block on the perimeter. He'll be an immediate impact player. His skill set is closer to Mike Evans. He runs routes like a wide receiver."

Pete Prisco of CBSSports: "They need a tight end, but I would have gone for an offensive lineman here. He is a good pass catcher."

Dallas Cowboys - Taco Charlton (No. 28)

The Cowboys offense, with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant, is set. Their defense, though, could stand to get better, and Dallas started that effort by taking Charlton out of Michigan.

Reaction to the pick

Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated​: "Theme of the night: zone-based defenses taking edge rushers. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Miami and Atlanta all did it. And now Dallas, the team that needed that help more than any outside of Cleveland."

Mike Mayock of NFL.com: "This kid has length, power and athletic ability. Reminds me physically of Carlos Dunlap. One-year starter, which makes me question where he was before that."

Pete Prisco of CBSSports: "They need help up front, but this kid flashed at times and did little else."

RELATED: DID PLAYING AT ALABAMA ACTUALLY HURT ALLEN'S STOCK?

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NFL Draft 2017 Redskins live blog: Second round draft tracker updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2017 Redskins live blog: Second round draft tracker updates, analysis

The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Redskins got themselves aa steal in Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen with the No. 17 overall pick.

On Friday, the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, and the Redskins head into the second day with two picks at their disposal.

The Redskins will select No. 49 overall (2nd-17) and No. 81 overall (3rd-17) unless they make a draft day trade.

Will the Redskins make a trade? Who are the best available players in the second and third round? 

The CSN NFL Draft Second Round Live Blog has you covered.

RELATED: REDSKINS CAN GET CREATIVE ON DAY 2

What: 2017 NFL Draft, Rounds 2-3
When: Friday, April 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Penn.
TV Channel: ESPN, NFL Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN App

RELATED: FINAL 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT

Lets head to the Live blog (Click here for First Round Live Blog):

REDSKINS 2017 NFL DRAFT SECOND ROUND TRACKER

5:27 PM - As more information about CB Gareon Conley taking a polygraph has come out, so too have questions about the legality of it. 

4:50 PM - Rich Tandler narrowed down the Redskins' second and third-round NFL Draft choices to just five guys. Here they are. 

4:45 PM - This list will be important today. Who are the best available players the Redskins could think about drafting in the second round?

4:30 PM - We wrote about this, but this graphic is worth looking at again. And again. And again.

4:20 PM - Want to get to know the NFL Draft prospects? Want to go inside the war room with a former GM? Ever wondered what a player evaluation looks like? Former NFL GM Charley Casserly and CSN's Julie Donaldson have you covered in our CSN Draft Room. It's your go-to source for 2017 NFL Draft material.

4:05 PM - The CSN team is all over the place today. Be sure to follow them on Twitter. Redskins Insider JP Finlay is at the Draft in Philadelphia. Redskins writer Rich Tandler and CSN anchor Chick Hernandez are at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. and NFL analyst Trevor Matich is in the CSN Draft Room. Be sure to follow @CSNRedskins for all your draft night coverage. 

4:00 PM - Welcome to CSN's live draft tracker for the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night.