September 21, 2019

Washington Redskins: Who will the Skins host in the playoffs?

The hard part for the Washington Redskins is over. They have successfully clinched a playoff berth as the NFC East champions. Locked into the fourth seed in the playoffs, the Skins know they will return to FedEx Field one more time this season but have no clue on who they will be facing.

Following Week 16 action, Washington can expect to host the likes of the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, or Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay and Seattle were embarrassed by the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, respectively, while the Vikings eliminated the Atlanta Falcons by beating the New York Giants. So going into Week 17 here is where we stand:

Packers (10-5) Vikings (10-5) Seahawks (9-6)
vs. Vikings at Packers at Cardinals

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Washington Redskins Game 9 Review: Defense optional as Vikings top Redskins

The Washington Redskins team bus was involved in an accident on its way to Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, shaking up team members and the coaching staff. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, though third string RB Silas Redd was made inactive due to his back tightening up after the collision.

Unfortunately, the accident was an apt metaphor for the team’s defense today, as the wheels came off early and the previously ineffective Vikings offense, led by rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, carved up the D in large chunks to beat the Redskins 29-26.

The game marked the return of QB Robert Griffin III, and while his arm is as impressive as it has always been — he was obviously rusty from missing so many weeks due to his dislocated ankle — it was apparent he wore down as the day went along and the hits piled up, as he was sacked five times by the Minnesota defense.

Griffin was 18 of 28 for 251 yards, a touchdown and a very costly interception. He looked great on downfield balls — as long as the porous offensive line gave him time to set. He looked less good on sprint passes, especially when asked to move to his left and throw against his body. On those occasions, he looked either physically incapable, or just plain unwilling, to set his feet and make a good hard throw.

The offensive line play, again today, was simply atrocious. On very few occasions, Griffin had enough time to go through his progressions and find the correct receiver. He was much more effective on single-read routes where he didn’t need read the play. Griffin often looked indecisive as well, perhaps a testament to his inactivity over eight weeks.

The running game with Alfred Morris, however, looked very sharp in the first half. Predictably though, once the game got competitive in the second quarter and second half, the team practically abandoned the run and opted to use screens and swing passes to keep the defense honest, with varying degrees of success.

Morris finished with 92 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.

Griffin found Desean Jackson for two long gains and a short touchdown pass, once again showing Jackson’s threat to secondaries across the league. He made four catches for 120 yards, the longest of 56 yards. But his offensive pass interference call in the fourth quarter — a very soft call — ended up putting the Redskins in a second-and-20 spot they could not recover from.

The Redskins (3-6) built a 10-0 lead on a Kai Forbath 36-yard field goal and Morris’ first touchdown of the day, a 14-yard carry. Both drives were impressive; the first went 13 plays and 72 yards, the second went 91 yards on six plays.

The Redskins held the Vikings (4-5) on downs in their territory right before the half, but on the next play — with 1:04 left on their own 39 — Griffin rolled left and threw to Andre Roberts, but the throw was short and Captain Munnerlyn stepped in and scooped it up before it hit the ground. After review, the play stood.

Bridgewater needed just four plays to put it in the end zone, the last was a 20-yard strike to wide open tight end Chase Ford (5 catches, 66 yards) down the left sideline for the score. The Vikings made it 14-10 early in the third — after a Redskins three-and-out — as a 6-play, 56-yard drive ended on Matt Asiata’s 1-yard plunge.

Washington answered though, marching 56 yards on seven plays and Griffin hit Jackson on a slant with a terrific pass to make it 17-14. The team forced a three-and-out, then got in position for Forbath’s second field goal of the day, this time from 26 yards, and the Redskins led 20-14.

That’s when the defense went completely AWOL.

Minnesota took its next possession 76 yards in 10 plays, with Asiata’s 7-yard touchdown as a result, and a Vikings 21-20 lead.

The Redskins responded with another solid drive, 8 plays, 80 yards, and Morris’ second touchdown, a 2-yard run. A failed 2-point conversion made it 26-21 Redskins.

But the defense again laid down. The Vikings, who hadn’t scored more than 14 points in any of their past five games, carved up the defense for 73 yards on 12 plays, culminating with Asiata’s third score of the day, and the dagger in the Redskins hopes.

The offense got the ball back with 3:27 left, needing a field goal to force overtime. But the drive stalled, and Griffin’s fourth down pass to Pierre Garcon, on a sprint left, was low and short and fell incomplete.

Washington Redskins Week 9 Preview: Minnesota Vikings

The Washington Redskins thrilling win over the Dallas Cowboys — on Monday Night Football, no less — is why we all watch sports, especially the NFL.  It can’t be scripted.  Every media pundit, every blog, even this website and writer, expected a Redskins loss.  It was the perfect storm: Dallas was on a six game winning streak. Washington, though they had won the week before, started journeyman quarterback Colt McCoy on Monday night football in Jerry World.  The odds were stacked against this team, and they responded in a big way.

In Monday night’s overtime victory, Washington showed more guts and heart than we have seen since the last time the Redskins bested the Cowboys in the 2012 NFC East division championship game. In addition to McCoy’s heroics, each phase of the game was able to contribute to the victory.  Andre Roberts set the tone on special teams early with a huge punt return.  Brandon Meriweather, Bashaud Breeland, and Keenan Robinson all showed the league that they were forces to be reckoned with.  Even Perry Riley, who has experienced a rough season so far, was able to contribute in a big way to the team victory.

Now it’s the last game before the bye, and the Redskins are anticipating the return this week of their franchise quarterback.  Quarterback Robert Griffin III has healed from his week 2 ankle injury and has been deemed cleared to play against Minnesota.  As we said back in week 2, it will be important for Griffin to utilize his legs as much as his arm in order to be successful.  In addition, though he got going late last week, running back Alfred Morris stands to benefit from Griffin’s return.  Morris has been much more effective when the defense has had to keep an eye on Griffin as a run threat as well.  If utilized correctly, and if he truly is 100%, Griffin can be a powerful addition to an offense that seems to be finding its stride for the 3-5 Redskins.

Minnesota is also 3-5 and coming off an overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although it seems that the victory was more about what Tampa Bay didn’t do, rather than what Minnesota did.  Minnesota is still without Adrian Peterson and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has struggled early in his NFL career.  The bright spot for Minnesota is that they have been posting solid defensive numbers, keeping the team in the game when the offense has done so little.  If Minnesota is going to beat the Redskins, they will need to take advantage of possible rust with Robert Griffin III.

Keys to the game

RG3, not Robert Griffin

There was a moment early in the week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars that ESPN 980 sideline reporter and Redskins legend Rick “Doc” Walker exclaimed the return of RG3 after a read option quarterback keeper.  It is so true. The “RG3″ moniker paints memories of the dynamic Baylor quarterback we became infatuated with and the dynamic Redskins rookie, who carried a team on his back, that we fell in love with. He must return and immediately return to this style of offense.  He is not yet a pocket passer, so they must utilize his speed to their advantage.

Intensity and heart

These are the attributes the Redskins defense and special teams played with on Monday night in Dallas.  It’s important, because the talent isn’t quite there yet.  Minnesota is dreadful on offense, but if the defense comes out stale, Bridgewater could quickly turn on his career against a marginally talented defense.  If the unit comes out motivated for a win, this one could be over early.

Limit mistakes

Minnesota’s defense has been very opportune this year.  Last week, their overtime victory was the result of a defensive touchdown.  Still, Robert Griffin III takes care of the ball for the most part.

Our Predictions

Joe Ziegengeist

Skins will win this one pretty easily, and we’ll be spending the bye week dreaming of playoff scenarios as the team will be 4-5 with Tampa off the bye.  Redskins 28, Vikings 10

Dave Nichols

I expect RGIII to be a bit rusty, yet show enough of the things we want to see from him to inspire confidence in the future. I just don’t think the Redskins rebound on the short week to go on the road again after the hangover from the big win at Dallas. Vikings 24, Redskins 20

Neil Dalal

The Vikings are a struggling team to say the least. They have a rookie quarterback with few weapons around him and an average defense. The Redskins should win this game as long as they do not have too many penalties and/or turnovers. The key matchup in the game will be Murphy/Kerrigan versus Kalil/Loadholt; if we can win that matchup this should be no-contest. Redskins 27, Vikings 13

Eric Hobeck

With Robert Griffin III back, the offense will be rejuvenated and ready to take on a Viking defense that gives up just over 21 points a game. On offense, Minnesota just doesn’t win when they score less than 20 and the Redskin defense will be able to hold rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater at bay.   Redskins 28, Vikings 13

Joe Miller

This game will come down to how well RG3 plays coming back after missing the last 6+ games. The Vikings defense is pretty good but I imagine it’s been tough for them this week to prepare for a Griffin-led offense, seeing as how he’s played in less than five quarters this season; not a lot of film to go off of. Tough to get a clear picture of what this offense will look like with him at the helm since he obviously brings greater mobility and big play ability to the offense than do Cousins and McCoy. Even with Griffin rusty, I think the offense still puts up points and the defense does fairly well coming off their best performance of the year.  Redskins 27, Vikings 17

Redskins Wrap Postgame Show: Game 9 vs. Vikings

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes of District Sports Page analyze and discuss the Washington Redskins 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Washington Redskins Game 6 Review: RGIII Returns in Redskins 38-26 Win Over Vikings

After suffering a concussion in last week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Robert Griffin III returned with a vengeance today as the Washington Redskins (3-3) trounced the Minnesota Vikings (4-2) 38-26 Sunday evening in front of 78,476  at FedEx Field.

Despite reports that the NFL plans to deal the Redskins a hefty fine for their handling of Griffin’s concussion last week, Griffin showed no signs of poor health as he ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns in 13 carries against a lackluster Minnesota defense.

However, the Redskins’ defense also looked terrible in the first quarter. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder led a 78-yard drive to start things off for the Vikings and Adrian Peterson picked up 40 yards on three carries to position Blair Walsh for a 20-yard field goal in under three and a half minutes of play.

In their first drive, the Redskins netted zero yards in a three-and-out and the Vikings returned the ball to their own 47-yard line, allowing for Walsh to tally another three points on a 27-yard field goal. The Vikings’ defense continued to limit Griffin and, on third and 3 from the Redskins’ 27 yard-line, Antoine Winfield intercepted Griffin’s pass intended for Joshua Morgan. The Vikings failed to drive for a touchdown, but Walsh added another 27-yard field goal to put the Vikings up 9-0.

The start of the second quarter spelled a huge momentum shift for the Redskins. After a 48-yard drive, Redskins’ kicker Kai Forbath erased memories of Billy Cundiff with a 50-yard field goal to put the Redskins on the board, trailing 9-3. The Vikings failed to break through the Redskins’ awaking defense and on Washington’s next possession, Griffin led the Redskins on a 90-yard drive in 11 plays. His 30-yard pass to Santana Moss helped set up a touchdown toss to Alfred Morris to give the Redskins a 10-9 lead.

After Forbath kicked for a touchback, Lorenzo Alexander forced Ponder to fumble and recovered the ball, regaining possession for the Redskins on the Vikings’ 6-yard line. Unlike the Vikings, the Redskins were able to capitalize on the interception with a touchdown pass to Darrel Young to make it 17-9.

Redskins maintained control of the game for the entire second half. Alfred Morris led the Redskins on a 62-yard drive which culminated in a seven-yard run touchdown run by Griffin himself to give the Redskins some wiggle room with a 24-9 lead.

The Vikings finally responded to the Redskins’ 24 unanswered points with another field goal by Walsh – this time a 37-yarder – to bring Minnesota back within 12.

However, the Redskins continued to dominate in the fourth quarter when Madieu Williams intercepted a pass intended for Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins and ran the ball 24 yards for a touchdown, putting the Redskins in front 31-21.

The Vikings’ offense came alive for a bit, after a 16-yard pass to Rhett Ellison and a 20-yard pass to Percy Harvin allowed Ponder to connect with Jenkins in the end zone and pass to Rudolph for a two-point conversion, cutting the Redskins’ lead to 31-20. The Vikings tried the same approach on their next possession – this time, Ponder connected with Rudolph for the touchdown, trimming the Redskins’ lead to 31-26, but Ponder failed to find a receiver on the two-point conversion attempt.

On the next drive, Griffin recovered from a sack by Jared Allen to pitch to Morris for an eight-yard run to the Redskins’ 16 yard-line. Then, Griffin took matters into his own hands, running for a 76-yard touchdown to snap the Redskins’ two-game losing streak with a 38-26 win.

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