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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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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!