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Redskins vs Seahawks Bold Predictions

Redskins vs Seahawks Bold Predictions

Redskins vs. Seahawks Bold Predictions

When the schedule first came out in the spring and Seattle at Washington at 1 PM EDT was on it, the instant, knee jerk reaction was to put down a “W” for the Redskins and move on. Such instant analysis was based on the following factors:

  • Seattle can’t win on the road, especially games that start at 10 AM their time.

  • The Redskins can stop the run and the Seahawk receivers can’t hold on to the ball, so how are the Seahawks going to score?

  • Mike Holmgren couldn’t beat Spurrier (with George Edwards as Washington’s defensive coordinator), how is he going to beat Joe Gibbs/Gregg Williams?


As the game has drawn closer, however, thoughts of a potential easy victory have given way to some degree of trepidation. A great deal of it, as a matter of fact.

First of all, that road inferiority of Seattle’s is one of those lingering myths that has far outlived its basis in fact (Redskins fans are quite familiar with those). They went 4-4 on the road last year, a respectable mark. None of their wins was over a powerhouse team, but the Redskins certainly don’t fit into that category.

The inability of their receivers to get a grip on the ball is not as much of a problem as it used to be either. The King of the Dropsies, Koren Robinson, Seattle’s version of Michael Westbrook, was given his walking papers and by that subtraction it seems that the entire receiving corps has added considerable grip to its hands.

And, frankly, if Butch Davis and Mike Sherman were able to beat Gibbs and company last year, there’s no reason why Holmgren can’t do it this year.

So, with all of the myths stripped away, here is what we have on Sunday—2-1 vs. 2-0, a good Seattle offense against a very good Redskin defense and a shaky Washington offense against an average Seahawk defense.

At the risk of making a Master of the Obvious statement, we’ll know a lot more about how this game is going to go when we’re about 10 minutes into it. The Redskins need to establish some rhythm on offense. After their first couple of possessions, we’ll see if those two late bombs to Moss in Dallas have any effect on their ability to move the ball. Joe Gibbs, any offensive coach for that matter, is much more effective in calling plays when he has the defense guessing, when more than one aspect of the offense is working. If Seattle plays soft to prevent Moss from going deep, that can open up both Portis on the run and underneath passes to Chris Cooley.

That’s all Football 101 and most reading this already know that. The reason that it’s so important here is because football is a game of confidence, of momentum. Washington gained a big boost of both in the last five minutes of their last game. But that was a week ago Monday. If that is going to have any carryover effect, the Redskins have to have some offensive success in the early going. Otherwise they will struggle to score the 20 points that they may need to win.

So both strategically and emotionally, the first two possessions for the Redskins are critical. A couple of three and outs or even five or six and outs and they’re almost certainly in the doldrums the rest of the day. A couple of double-digit gains by Portis, a medium to long completion to Moss or to David Patten and Seattle will have a very hard time keeping up with them.

If I’m Joe Gibbs, I go play action and deep on the very first play I have the ball. Send a message, both to Seattle and to your own team, that the last time out was no fluke and that you’re willing to go deep at any time.

So how will all of this work out? The Redskins will contain Shaun Alexander, as they do every opposing running back, but he will get some yardage. Holmgren will try the “death by a thousand paper cuts” approach with West Coast offense, and, especially if Walt Harris is out with his calf injury, that may be reasonably effective. It’s not hard to envision Seattle scoring in the 13-17 point range.

That leaves it up to the Washington offense and, no disrespect to the Seattle defense, but the success there is largely up that unit. If they’re aggressive and take what they want to take rather than what the defense gives them they will move the ball and score points. If the attitude is to play it safe and take a nibble here and a probe there, they will have a problem scoring 13 points.

There is a chance that the Washington offense will explode and ring up 35 points, but it’s a slim one. We’ll probably see some modest but noticeable improvement. If that happens, Seattle doesn’t have much of a chance.

Redskins 20, Seahawks 13

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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

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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