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State of the Redskins Week 17: Start 'em or sit 'em?

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State of the Redskins Week 17: Start 'em or sit 'em?

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 17 of the NFL season.

Record: 8-7, clinched NFC East title
vs. NFC East: 3-2
vs. NFC: 7-4
vs. AFC: 1-3
Home: 6-2
Away: 2-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 348.3 (17th)
Defense (yards/game): 371.9 (24th)
Passer rating offense:  99.0 (6th)
Opp passer rating: 95.7 (22nd)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.6 (30th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.8 (31st)
DVOA through Week 16 (Football Outsiders): 0.6% (14th)

Top three storylines:

It’s in the bag—The Redskins took care of business in Philadelphia and wrapped up the NFC East title. They won going away and donned the hats and T-shirts in the locker room at the Linc. They still may finish 8-8 but nobody is going to apologize for grabbing a division title in a down year in the NFC East.

Start ‘em or sit ‘em?—They are locked into the four seed so the result of Sunday’s game in Dallas has no effect on the standings. There are some players, such as safeties Dashon Goldson and DeAngelo Hall, who probably will sit due to injuries. Jay Gruden’s dilemma is when it comes to players like Kirk Cousins or Jordan Reed, guys who are healthy now. Should the play them, risking injury? Or should he rest them, risking getting them out of the rhythm of playing every week.

Who’s coming to FedEx—It will be the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks coming in as the Redskins’ first-round opponent. We won’t know the answer until we know the result of the Sunday night game between the Vikings and Packers. Here is the breakdown on what will happen with the various possible combinations of results on Sunday.

Last (regular season) game

Sunday @ Cowboys (4-10)—The Redskins ideal scenario would be to get some injured players the day off, get some players off the field after a few series of work, and come away with a win to finish the season at 9-7.

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 20, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1:45; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 3:30

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 12
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 23
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 39

First look at Redskins vs. Raiders

—This tweet seems a bit audacious. It’s from Vic Tafur, who writes about the Raiders for the pay site The Athletic.

They are second in the NFL in offensive yards and first in points scored. Oakland is fourth in rushing yards and 13th in passing yards. QB Derek Carr is third in the NFL with a stellar 126.5 passer rating and Marshawn Lynch has a bruising 121 yards rushing. They’re good but I would reserve phrases like “doing whatever they want” for teams like the Greatest Show on Turf or the ’07 Patriots. The Raiders aren’t there yet.

—Defensively, the Raiders are just OK, especially considering they have played a Titans team that is solid but not an offensive juggernaut and the putrid Jets. They are 17th in yards given up and tied for 11th in points allowed. They haven’t intercepted a pass although they have two fumble recoveries. They have five sacks, one more than a Redskins team that talks a lot about a need to get to the quarterback.

—Carr and Kirk Cousins have very similar numbers in the two seasons plus two games that they both have been starters. One area where Carr has an edge is in the touchdown passes column. Carr has 65 while Cousins has just 46. The Raiders have some quality receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. But Cousins could throw to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon up until this season and Washington also has tight end Jordan Reed. It’s at least a wash in terms of quality of targets if not an advantage to the Redskins. It is something that Carr has solved that Cousins has not. Carr’s ability to get the ball into the end zone helped him become the NFL’s highest-paid player, albeit temporarily.

—Although the Raiders’ offense is not going to make history, the Redskins still need to be prepared to be in a shootout on Sunday night. To be sure, the Redskins defense has improved but it’s hard to see the Raiders scoring less than somewhere in the mid to upper twenties. That means that the Redskins will have to score at least as many points as they did against the Rams, maybe more. They started and ended well in LA; to win next Sunday they probably won’t be able to get away with zero second-half points until after the two-minute warning.

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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Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

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USA Today Sports Images

Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

It took the New York Giants a full game and another quarter before they scored their first touchdown of the 2017-18 NFL season.

Giants rookie Evan Engram was the recipient of their first touchdown of the season, scoring the first of his career on Monday Night Football.

Naturally he began to celebrate his accomplishment, but perhaps his celebration was too natural. 

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In the clip, right in front of the cameraman, the 23-year-old proceeds to dance with a finishing move crotch grab in the midst of his teammates.

Apparently the loosened NFL celebration rules from this off-season did not take out any sexually suggestive actions. 

It resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off for the Giants.

With the ball then kicked out of bounds the Lions had the ball at their own 45-yard line.

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Likely the grab will give Engram a fine from the NFL.

Last season Antonio Brown was fined for a similar celebration, by twerking following a score.

The touchdown remains the only time New York has found the end-zone through two games.

With only 13 points it is the lowest scoring two game start in 70 years for the franchise.