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State of the Redskins, Week 13: In the driver's seat

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State of the Redskins, Week 13: In the driver's seat

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 13 of the NFL season.

Record: 5-6, T-1st in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-1
vs. NFC: 5-3
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 5-1
Away: 0-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 339.5 (25th)
Defense (yards/game): 366.6 (22nd)
Passer rating offense:  91.4 (13th)
Opp passer rating: 94.6 (21st)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.8 (25th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.7 (29th)
Weighted DVOA through Week 12 (Football Outsiders): -4.7% (15th)

Top three storylines:

Leading the race—The Redskins are tied for the NFC East lead and have an edge over the Giants based on tiebreakers. A lot can happen over the next five games but it seems likely that a 3-2 finish will be good enough to give the Redskins their first playoff berth since 2012 and the home playoff game that comes with winning the division. Sure they would be 8-8 but a franchise that has twice won 10 games and failed to make the playoffs in the past should feel no need to apologize. The Redskins do have their playoff chances in their own hands; if they win out, they are in.

Special teams an asset—Remember two years ago when the Redskins’ special teams were not just bad but historically awful? They have rebounded nicely with Dustin Hopkins pounding kickoffs, Tress Way learning how to control his powerful punting leg, and the coverage units executing fundamentals. Football Outsiders has the best overall measure of special teams units and they rank the Redskins fifth in the NFL this week. That’s quite a turnaround.

Quinton Dunbar—As training camp started the ceiling for Quinton Dunbar was thought to be practice squad wide receiver. But in late November he lined up in press coverage on Odell Beckham Jr., deflecting three passes, and making a key interception to help propel the Redskins to the top of the division. Shows how much we know. Now the focus of the injury reports this week will be Dunbar, who had to leave the game with a badly dislocated finger.

Next three games

Monday night vs. Cowboys (3-8)—It got ugly early against the Panthers on Thanksgiving and it got worse late when Tony Romo’s season ended with another broken collarbone. The Redskins aren’t good enough to beat anyone without playing well and they will need to beware against a Dallas team that has nothing to lose.

December 13 @ Bears (5-6)—The Bears were in disarray early in the season and Jay Cutler was either the joke or the punch line. But coach John Fox righted the ship and they have gone 5-3 since their 0-3 start. Their most recent win, over the Packers on the road, was quite impressive. Cutler has thrown just six interceptions after leading the league with 18 a year ago.

December 20 vs. Bills (5-6)—The Bills’ defense was supposed to be dominant but that hasn’t materialized. LeSean McCoy, who burned the Redskins on occasion when he was with the Eagles, seems to be healthy and is playing better the last four games than he has all year. We will see what Rex Ryan brings to town in a few weeks.

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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.

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

The Redskins could be without two key offensive players against the Raiders tonight, according to a report.

According to ESPN, Redskins starting running back Rob Kelley (rib) is unlikely to play and that Jordan Reed (chest) is a game-time decision but it also is probable that he will sit out. Bot players were listed as questionable on the final injury report on Friday.

RELATED: CRAVENS JERSEY GIVEAWAY A BIG HIT

Kelley was having a career day against the Rams last Sunday before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib cartilage injury. He practiced on a limited basis all week.

Reed, a key target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, missed some snaps after sustaining the injury to his sternum during the game against the Rams. He was out of practice on Wednesday and limited on Thursday and Friday.

Rookie Samaje Perine saw his first NFL action last week and he likely will get his first NFL start in Kelley’s spot tonight. If Reed can’t play, Vernon Davis will start and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle, who was inactive the first two games, will be in uniform.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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.