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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule

Aug 31, 2014, 5:57 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 31, seven days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Here are five pivotal games on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule:

Sept. 21 @ Eagles—Last year the Redskins weren’t competitive in either game against the eventual division champs. They can show that they’ve closed the gap starting here.

Sept. 26 vs. Giants—After coming back from Philly they turn around and host the Giants. It was one thing losing to Philly twice in 2013; dropping two to the Giants was a different matter. If the Redskins are even going to be mediocre they need to win games like this at home.

Oct. 19 vs. Titans—Yes, this is a nondescript game that few outside of Washington and Nashville will care about and that’s the point. Even when they’re good the Redskins tend to lay an egg at home against a team they should beat. This is a trap they need to avoid.

Nov. 2 @ Vikings—Minnesota has been every bit as mediocre as the Redskins since 2010 and they’ve met every year. The Vikings have won three of those four games. If they Redskins are indeed improved they should win this one.

Dec. 7 vs. Rams—This is similar to the situation with the Vikings. St. Louis hasn’t been very good but they still have beaten Washington in two of their three meetings since 2010

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Stat of the day

—Alfred Morris has rushed for 2,888 yards in his two seasons in the NFL. Only eight backs in NFL history have rushed for more yards in their first two seasons. If Morris gains 1,112 yards this year to get to 4,000 he will join a group of 12 players with that many rushing yards in their first three seasons in the league.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No availability

—It’s been 245 days since the Redskins played a game; in seven days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 14; Redskins @ Eagles 21; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 26

In case you missed it

  1. shermanp79 - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    They definitely will show how much better this team has become this year. A split with PHI and Giants would be great. If they can beat Dallas both games, that puts them 4-2 in Division. They must split 2 and beat one team in both to have any shot to compete for Division and a playoff spot. We will have and idea early. If they can win the 3 they should with the Division as stated that would be 7 wins. That would clearly have them in the hunt at the end. The problem is StL probably gives this Offense problems and a team in Minn, who I think Offensively will be better. Then add in the Peterson factor that game may be a coin toss. If this Defense can play the run much better and get that pressure, they should keep most games close for RG3 to try and figure it out.

    One concern I have, if RG3 struggles like last year do rumblings start all over again? Last year Garcon and Moss had some things to say. What happens if Jackson gets involved? The Offense could turn into a mess. The injury bug at TE and FB could create serious problems with the run game. Last year the WRs had trouble getting open against good defenses at times, with Jackson and Roberts along with Robinson’s growth, this team has speed, so I think if RG3 can find them, that isn’t as big an issue. Just the difference between what personnel packages Gruden uses vs. what Shannahan did should make a difference. Rg3 looked shaky but hopefully it was just the way things are in Pre Season. They did more with McCoy than RG3. He rolled out and moved around, RG3 basically stayed in the pocket. That is the one hope I have, thinking there is a difference in RG3 week one! He basically threw short passes and from the pocket, all things he struggles to do. He is the difference between 6-10 or 10-6 this year. I think his play is worth 4 games. The OL has needs still but they got it done in 2012. Hopefully Long gets in there by week 4-5 and even if Kory ends up on the bench, down the stretch the OL may be stronger. It should be interesting. I just want growth and improvement. Rg3 doing so is the most important to this Franchise. You can’t win without a quality QB.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Sherm, we have some of the most impatient fans in the NFL. The Fickle Fan Nation is what I like refer to many Redskins Fans. However, I will continue to ignore and defend RG3. I don’t care if we are 3-13 again. We have to let him remain the starter for at least one season to allow him the opportunity to complete his development into an elite QB.

  2. redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I would also consider the Texans/ jaguars a pivotal package game scenario. Coming out of the gate, if we can’t win both those games then we’ll have little chance of a post season. Our division will once again be among the weaker which I seriously doubt more than one team in the NFC East qualifies for the playoffs. I think the Eagles are a legitimate tier one team now. So, I don’t anticipate winning the NFC East if we fail to beat two of the worst in the NFL. No NFC East title equals no playoff!

  3. deecee757 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I agree. I think it is imperative we start 2-0 based off of who we are up against. The Texans will not be easy as they are not far removed from competing for AFC supremacy. Dropping either game, especially Jax will be huge blow to their confidence coming off a 3-13 season

  4. redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    In the 2nd pick of the waiver wire draft the Redskins select Duke Ihenacho S out of Denver. I guess that means no invite for Phillip Thomas

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      Thomas has been signed to the practice squad.

      > >

  5. colmac69 - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Important to get off to gd start….lose first two u looking philly away..giants home so poss 0-4 and you in trouble….however win first two u got some confidance going Iinto div games so poss 3-1 or b greedy and say 4-0!…..lets c how things pan out nxt sun in Houston and take it from there….but im feeling gd bout our prospects esp with how def looked pre season

  6. gasngo14 - Sep 1, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    looking at the schedule, we need to win right out of the gate first 2 games are must wins if not it could get ugly fast.

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