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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Chiefs

Dec 4, 2013, 6:02 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 4, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Chiefs matchup:

1. Alex Smith is a pretty good game manager. He averages 6.2 yards per pass attempt, among the lowest in the NFL. He is completing less than 60 percent of his passes and his passer rating is a mediocre 83.2.  But he has thrown 10 more TD’s than interceptions (16-6) and the Chiefs are 9-3. A lot of NFL teams would take a game manager like Smith if he could help deliver those results.

2. Smith is not a mad bomber by any stretch of the imagination. Their leader in receptions is running back Jammal Charles, who has 55 (452 yards, 8.2 ypc). The Redskins really haven’t played a team with such a productive pass catcher out of the backfield this year so it will be interesting to see how they handle him.

3. Kansas City is ninth in the league in scoring with 24.8 points per game. But before you go patting Smith, Charles and the rest of the Chiefs offense on the back, consider that their defense and special teams have scored an average of 4.7 points per game. They have scored eight touchdowns on returns. You also have to think that their 26 takeaways also have helped the KC offense start out in pretty good field position.

4. The Chiefs has what the Redskins would like to have—a pair of outside linebackers who rack up good sack numbers. Justin Houston, who lines up on the left side, has 11 and Tamba Hall has nine. The Redskins may catch a break as it looks like Houston will be out with an elbow injury. Still, Washington has given up 19 sacks in the last four games and even the presence of one threat like Hall is cause for concern.

5. The Redskins’ coverage teams have tightened things up lately but they face another dangerous returner this week in Dexter McCluster. He averages 9.7 yards per punt return and he has brought one back 89 yards for a touchdown. Look for a lot of angled kicks by Sav Rocca to prevent a big return.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins are being outscored by an average of 7.8 points per game (scoring 22.4, allowing 30.2). In 2009, Jim Zorn’s second and final year as the coach of the Redskins, they were outscored by an average of 4.4 points per game (scored 16.6, allowed 21.0).


Days until: Chiefs @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Falcons 11; Cowboys @ Redskins 19

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 2:00)

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