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(Truly) Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Win Big

(Truly) Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Win Big

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I have to apologize for I have misled you, the loyal readers here. Prior to each of the six Redskins games this year, I have written a prediction as to how I thought the upcoming game would go and give my thoughts on what the final score might be. I have labeled these pieces “Bold Predictions”.

Looking back, though, most of the predictions have been anything but bold. I’ve added qualifiers (if Jake Plummer turns it over), caveats (unless the Chiefs turn some big plays) and other rather wimpy elements. I wanted to pick the Redskins to hang a big number on the 49ers but I chickened out and went with a comfortable but not dominant victory. Far from bold, as advertised, my predictions have been lame, milquetoast, bland predictions, not even worthy of capitalizing.

It stops this week, here and now.

The Washington Redskins will beat the New York Giants on Sunday and they will beat them easily.

It’s not that the Giants aren’t a quality football team. They are. But the Redskins are better. Much better. Mark Brunell is playing better than any quarterback in the league right now. Much better than Eli Manning, which is enough for this Sunday.

In fact, of the 22 starting positions, based how they’re playing right now, most coaches in the NFL would pick many more Redskins than Giants to start for their teams. Three of the four DL positions and MLB would go to the Giants on defense and on the other side of the ball, Giants would start at one WR spot, TE, and that’s it. OK, I’ll take a push in Tiki vs. Portis but only a push. That makes the tally 15 Redskins, six Giants and one draw. That’s not a slight edge for the Redskins, it’s a landslide. Again, they’re just a better team.

Certainly the game is not about Barber vs. Portis or Eli vs. Brunell, it’s about matchups, offense vs. defense, blockers vs. the front four, receivers vs. cornerbacks. Did someone say Santana Moss against Will Allen or Curtis Deloatch? The East Rutherford fire department had better be on alert all day long as these guys are going to get torched repeatedly.

In fact, I’ve seen no rational explanation as to how anyone of the Giants defense is going to stop anyone on the Redskins offense. In terms of yards allowed, they’re last in the entire NFL. That doesn’t make them the worst necessarily, but they’re not very good.

The last time that they faced a QB-RB combo of the quality of Brunell and Portis was in San Diego in Week 3. Tomlinson ran over them for 192 yards and Drew Breese was 19-22-191, a quarterback rating of 133.1. San Diego drove 65, 85, and 82 yards to touchdowns the first three times it had the ball. They added TD drives of 70 and 77 yards later on.

To be sure, LT is a better back than Portis, who should hang up a mere buck fifty. As for Brunell, they may have to reinvent the QB rating scale.

On the other side of the ball, New York won’t be enjoying one of the advantages that they have over most of the teams that they play. Jeremy Shockey presents a matchup problem for a lot of secondaries. Not so against the Redskins as they have Sean Taylor, who possesses linebacker size and DB speed. Shockey will be neutralized.

Barber might pop a long run, the Washington defense’s bugaboo this year. Manning will make some plays, but not enough of them to overcome the hole that his team’s defense will leave them in.

Finally, let’s dispense with two of the supposed intangible advantages that the Giants. The first is that they want to win the game in honor of team patriarch Wellington Mara, giving them “extra” incentive as if first place in the division near the midway point of the season isn’t incentive enough. Two words—The Triplets. Remember how the induction of Smith, Aikman, and Irvin into the Dallas Hall of Rings, or whatever it is, was supposed to have the Cowboys so sky high that they were supposed to smash the Redskins. How did that work out, Roy Williams? In fact, the desire to win one for Mara may work against them. They may be too pumped up and play out of control and wear out by the third quarter.  

As far as Antonio Pierce knowing the Redskins defense, so what? Gregg Williams knows Pierce pretty well. You don’t think that he and Dale Lindsey spent a little time down the hall with the offensive coaches detailing to them Pierce’s weak points?

The Redskins are getting on a roll. You can say that putting up 52 points against an inferior opponent is just an isolated, one-week occurrence, but the record says otherwise. In Gibbs first run here, the Redskins put up 40 or more points 17 times. Their record after those games was a stellar 14-3. In fact, the last time they put up over 50 points, against Atlanta in 1991, they went on the road to Pittsburgh and scored 41 on the Steelers.

The Giants will come out playing hard, but by halftime the Redskins superiority will become apparent. It may not be over enough by the time the fourth quarter comes around to empty the bench like they did last week, but be assured that it will indeed be over.

Redskins 31, Giants 14

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?