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Redskins vs. Lions Bold Predictions

Redskins vs. Lions Bold Predictions

In 1999, I owned a Dodge Caravan. Today, I own a Dodge Caravan.

I said the other day that the Washington Redskins own the Detroit Lions. As a historical fact, it was accurate. But the car I own today is the same as the one I had five years ago in name only. In some ways it’s better and in some it’s worse, but it’s a very different vehicle.

And the Lions are a very different team from the one that the Redskins whipped year after year from the sixties through the ‘90’s. In some ways they’re worse but in other ways they’re better.

They may be worse at running back. I like Kevin Jones and he may well turn out to be a very good player, but right now, in November 2004, he’s not Barry Sanders or Billy Simms.

They are probably better at quarterback. Joey Harrington is making baby steps towards his potential but right now he’s superior to Greg Landry, Jeff Komlo, Gary Danielson, Erik Kramer, and Gus Frerotte, just a few of the quarterbacks the Lions lost to the Redskins with.

Roy Williams is certainly the best receiver Detroit has had since Herman Moore, but he may or may not play in Sunday. Even if his ankle permits him to play, the rookie will find it tough going against either Shawn Springs or Fred Smoot.

If Williams is either on the sidelines or shut down, then, the Lions’ ability to score will hinge on two things: Jones’ rushing and the ability of Harrington to find alternate targets such as Az Hakim or former Washington tight end Stephen Alexander.

Still, all of this adds up to the worst offense in the NFL; that’s what the total yardage ranking will tell you, anyway. But they’ve averaged almost 20 points per game, so they’re not all that bad.

Detroit is a middle of the road defense, not great, not terrible. They appear to be weaker against the pass than against the run. Of course, when they’re playing the Redskins, that’s frailty vs. frailty and power vs. power.

For Washington, Clinton Portis has to have a great day and Mark Brunell must have a decent day. There is much confidence in the former, not much in the latter.

Jones won’t find much running room against the patched-up Washington defense and Gregg Williams will scheme to harass Harrington into some sacks and an interception or two. Kicker Jason Hanson’s leg won’t be deterred at all, so let’s say that the Lions get a TD and three Hanson field goals for a total of 16 points.

Normally, a prediction that a team will give up just 16 points would lead to a prediction of victory for that team. However, the Redskins have scored over 16 just once this year, so that’s the key.

Getting to 17 is the key for the Redskins. I think they’re capable of doing it, but they haven’t demonstrated the ability to do so in a winning effort thus far this year. That makes it difficult for me to predict that they will.

In the late going it will be Detroit 16, Washington 14. Ola Kimrin will have a field goal attempt to win it. It will smack off of the upright and 16-14 is the final.

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 4923 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Matthew had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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