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Redskins vs. Giants: Five keys and a prediction

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Redskins vs. Giants: Five keys and a prediction

Five keys to the Redskins-Giants game plus a prediction:

1. When I’m looking at this game I keep on going back to Eli Manning’s ball security. He was a turnover machine in the Giants’ first six games, throwing 15 interceptions. In the five games since then he’s thrown two. Over his career he hasn’t been as bad as protecting the ball as he was earlier this year but hasn’t been as good as he has lately. How he does on Sunday night will go a long way towards determining the outcome.

2. The Redskins, of course, have their own streaky QB and Robert Griffin III has been going downhill lately. In his last six games he’s had three horrid games (vs. the Broncos, Eagles and 49ers), one solid game against the Vikings and two excellent performances against the Bears and Chargers. Not at all coincidentally, the only games there that the Redskins won are the two where he played well. My brilliant analysis of this is that Griffin needs to play well for the Redskins to win.

3. Victor Cruz is by far the Giants’ leading receiver with 60 catches for 851 yards. You have to think that he will primarily be DeAngelo Hall’s responsibility. Cruz was a handful for the Redskins last year; in the two games he caught 12 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. The TD came in the last two minutes of the game at Met Life Stadium and gave the Giants the win.

4. Everyone justifiably complains about the inability of the Redskins to get to the quarterback. But they do have 27 sacks on the year. The Giants, who won two Super Bowls based largely on their ability to rack up sacks, are even worse. They have a mere 18 sacks so far. End Jason Pierre-Paul, who totaled 23 sacks in 2011-2012, has been battling injuries all year and he has just two sacks. JPP has not missed a game this year but he has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

5. In addition to Pierre-Paul, the Giants will be missing another starter in cornerback Trumaine McBride. Also out are CB Corey Webster (ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee). The Redskins are likely to get TE Jordan Reed back from a concussion that sidelined him against the 49ers. However, they could be without fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) again and Niles Paul is also questionable after missing practice all week due to an illness. In addition, the Redskins placed starting defensive end Stephen Bowen on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Prediction: The Giants appear to be the more banged-up team but playing an opponent with multiple injuries did not help the Redskins against the Vikings. Will RG3 be on or off? I flipped a coin and came up with . . .

Redskins 28, Giants 21

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

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

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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