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Need to Know: Monday’s result says the Redskins have a chance vs. Panthers

Nov 18, 2015, 5:30 AM EDT

Reed-celebrate-vs-Saints

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 18, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Carolina Panthers.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Panthers

—If anyone thinks that the Redskins can’t win this game, may I direct your attention to the result of the game played on Monday night in Cincinnati. The Texans were double-digit underdogs and beat the undefeated Bengals 10-6. Yes, they got some help from the Bengals, particularly in the form of turnovers and dropped passes. The Redskins will probably need some help if they are gong to pull off the upset but it can be done.

—As noted here a few days ago, Kirk Cousins just has one interception in the last 13 quarters of play and that one pick, which bounced out of the hands of Pierre Garçon and into those of a Patriots defender, clearly was not his fault. His ball protection skills will be tested on Sunday as Carolina leads the league with 14 interceptions. Cornerback Josh Norman, a 2012 draft pick the Panthers developed into one of the better corners in the league, leads the team with four.

—In part because of the interceptions, the Carolina defense has the best opponent passer rating in the NFL with an impressive 69.1. That’s down in Peyton Manning territory (yes, it’s shocking to type that). Other teams complete just 57.2 percent of their passes against them and they average 6.0 yards per attempt. Add in 26 sacks, tied for sixth in the league, and Cousins will be challenged like he rarely has been before.

—Perhaps this would be a good game for the Redskins to get their running game going. The Panthers give up an average of 103 yards per game on the ground and 4.1 per carry. I suspect that to an extent the Panthers are willing to give up some yards on the ground, make teams grind out long drives, believing that the offense will make a mistake. And that happens pretty often; in addition to their 14 interceptions, the Panthers have recovered six fumbles.

—The Redskins’ biggest obstacle to winning on Sunday will be the man behind center for Carolina, Cam Newton. His passing numbers are not at all impressive with a completion percentage of 56.3 and a pedestrian passer rating of 84.8. But he is in the MVP conversation because can also run the ball (366 yards and six TD’s) and he has a knack for making a play when his team needs it. It’s hard to figure out how to defend a 6-6, 260-lb. quarterback when you very rarely go up against his combination of size and skills.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 4; Giants @ Redskins 11; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 19

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Steelers, Seahawks and Packers are the only tough teams the panthers have played this year. They have had a weak schedule this season. So their undefeated schedule is not accompanied with tough wins.

    Jaguars, Texans, Saints, Bucc’s, Eagles, Colts, Titans… I am not impressed.

    The Panthers are going to be playing a team much better than these – Redskins.

    • colorofmyskinz - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:32 AM

      Compare these teams: Dolphins, Rams, Giants, Falcons, Jets, and Patriots. Our schedule much tougher.

      I think the Panthers will be surprised.

    • colorofmyskinz - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:36 AM

      Sorry the steelers was preseason for them. So they have only played 2 teams of their 9 worth talking about. Seahawks and Packers. Everything else was trash win. Just not impressed by their undefeated schedule. Had they played our schedule and went undefeated I would be very impressed.

      • Jay - Nov 18, 2015 at 1:34 PM

        Colorofmyskinz,Are you kidding? A Redskins fan is “not impressed” by the Panthers 9-0 start? It’s the NFL genius and the Panthers have won 13 straight games. Many Skins fans weren’t alive last time the Skins did that, so you should be impressed. Either way, I’d love for you to come back to this post on Monday and tell me how unimpressed you are.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:19 AM

      The three wins by Carolina (Steelers, Seahawks and Packers) are better than any three wins by the Redskins.It’ be beyond happy to have the Redskins with those three tough wins.

      Carolina may not have had a brutal schedule but the Redskins schedule isn’t any tougher overall.

      I like the Redskins chances in terms it’s as good as any when facing an undefeated opponent this far into the season. However, don’t underestimate Carolina’s accomplishments.

    • redskinscaio - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      Well, I am very high on Carolina. They are a good football team. They are tough to beat and have a top 3 defense. Two years ago they won 12 games. Last year, they won a playoff game. This year they are undefeated. Wake up and smell the Panthers!

      • brucefan1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:52 PM

        ‘Wake up and smell the Panthers!’

        EEE—YEEW!!!

    • Nectar collector - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:21 PM

      Seahawks and packers aren’t even good this year anyway

  2. hk2000 - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:36 AM

    Absolutely they do! If our defense plays as well as they did last couple of weeks and we get a little creative on the offensive scheme- remember with NO, everything worked, but with Carolina defense, we may need more creativity than we’ve seen so far, and avoid turn overs- the sure fire way to exhaust your defense- which leads to a cascading effect that feeds on itself and snowballs into a blow out.

  3. sidepull - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:39 AM

    Wow. I knew the linebackers were very good, but I was not aware that they had those types of numbers regarding interceptions. I think the Redskins will be more than happy to grind it out if they can. Thats a chance for a win if they can do that. Run that ball and conversely if Cam runs they better wrap him up good. No arm tackles! And best to bring kryptonite. HTTR

  4. troylok - Nov 18, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    I have watched just a few Carolina games but it seems to me that Olsen is the big threat. If the Redskins can bring a lot of outside blitzers, Carolina will keep Olsen into block.

  5. Mark - Nov 18, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Lol. Com on man ARE you really serious if you look at every Panthers game you very well can see the Panthers give up at least one big 40 to 50 yard play on the ground but the rest of the game teams get about 50 more yards rushing the rest of the game on about 15 to 20 attempts and not a lot of rushing td , so the rushing stats r miss leading and the redskins fans are hyped off a big win over the saints I believe the titans beat the saints in the same fashion and u seen what happen to them scored one td get real pigskin..

    • Rich Tandler - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      Let’s see what the long run has been against the Panthers each game this season:

      Week 10–25
      Week 9–15
      Week 8–23
      Week 7–63
      Week 6–24
      Week 5–Bye
      Week 4–26
      Week 3–9
      Week 2–13
      Week 1–14

      So I guess you were saying that once this season have they given up a long run of over 25 yards.

      Pro tip: If you’re going to come in there and LOL at the host you should know your stuff. Apparently, you don’t.

      • redskinscaio - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Snap!

      • brucefan1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:57 PM

        ” If you’re going to come in there and LOL at the host you should know your stuff.”

        YEAH! And learn to spell “come”!!

        I tell ya.

  6. mjthomas85 - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    The Redskins definitely have a chance to win this Sunday against Carolina, just like any team has a chance to win on any given Sunday. However, like Rich said, the run game and offensive line will have to produce, and the defense will have to contain Cam Newton for this to happen.

    As for the comments on Carolina not playing good teams or deserving credit for their perfect, I think that is ridiculous. Anytime you are unbeaten this late into the season it is impressive. Even good teams fall to a bad team when they don’t take things seriously or have an off day. This will be a tough win for the Redskins given that Carolina is an all around solid team. If they pull it off, they deserve a lot of credit.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      I totally agree here! Nine straight wins in the NFL is not easy regardless of the schedule. Carolina’s very good in key statistical areas like defense that is 10th in yards allowed and 6th in points allowed per game. Offense rushing is both 3rd in yards per game and 3rd in points per game. Their rushing game is a very tough match up for the defense since the group will have to find a way to stop both Cam and Stewart. Two very powerful runners that could wear down a defense.

  7. 226thebeatdontstop - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    Rich in theory your correct anybody can beat anybody any given Sunday but let’s look at this Redskin team an its history when faced with playing teams with athletic quarterbacks who can create, good tightends, and strong defenses….

    Grudens play calling is predictable an suspect when a team stops the run which Carolina will do and when Cousins is under duress the turnovers start an his confidence goes…

    The Redskin defense cannot stop Cam,the running game or Greg Olsen…so please pump your brakes. Carolina will expose all the Redskin deficiencies . I am a Redskin fan by the way

  8. redskinscaio - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    I hope the coaches make Cam stop running the ball this week in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. He takes too many hits.

    : )

  9. redskinscaio - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    Cam is so good that he makes others around him look better than they actually are. (Low blow to Olsen?) The way Cam is playing this year, reminds me of the 2012 RGIII !

  10. redskinscaio - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    I think RGIII would be a good back up for the Panthers. I think that if you have a running quarterback, the backup should have a similar playing style too.

    • Jay - Nov 18, 2015 at 1:59 PM

      No thanks on RGiii as backup for Carolina, Derek Anderson is a much better QB who is already our backup.

  11. berniebernard666 - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Bickering is pointless. Who’s better? The team that wins Sunday.

    I laugh at all the people who are getting upset that the Skins may not make the playoffs if they don’t win this game or the following game. Before the season the Skins were not even expected to be in the hunt for a playoff spot. The best expectations of most normal fans and outsiders and Las Vegas was that the Skins might win 6 games, but be improved and get the QB situation a bit more clear. Well they are well on the way to success.

    Playoff talk way too early. Winning week to week and improving and getting ready for next year is the most important issue. I am already looking at next years team as a potential contender to win the NFC East. Potential? Junior Galette is likely to be resigned. No more suspensions. Skins have 1st right of refusal for any contract. He should be back and help the pass rush. Preston Smith has Potential. He should be a bit better next season. The Redskins young offensive line can be one of the top 3 in the league next season. The potential is there. Scott M is a draft Guru and football IQ genius. Give him another 3 or 4 rookie success stories next spring, and a couple of top notch free agents, and this team will be even better. Add to Kirk Cousins staying in the same offensive system for his 3rd season and the Redskins have the POTENTIAL to win the divisions.

    Gruden is still not the best HEAD coach in the league but at least Scott M is bringing in talent and that may be enough to mask Jay Grudens deficiencies as a Head Coach. At least Boy Wonder Sean McVay seems to be progressing as a play caller and He and Kirk seems to be putting it all together. So regardless of who wins this weekend…..if its a close game then I am still looking forward to 2016.

    • sidepull - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:15 PM

      My expectations were even lower. Just get out of the basement and let some other NFC East team live there for a while. So far so good. HTTR

    • babyteal1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:17 PM

      Well said….Finally an intelligent post!!!

    • rtcwon - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:17 PM

      The New Englands, Cincinnatis and Carolinas are not in our division, competing with them is next year’s goal.

      This team has the POTENTIAL to win the division this year regardless of how they do against teams not in the division.

      I laugh at all the people who don’t understand parity and expect a 2-3 year rebuild to compete in the NFC East.

  12. redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    I’d like to be the first here to congratulate Cousins for being awarded Offense Player of the Week. Congrats and it was well earned Kirk!

  13. renhoekk2 - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    Funny to hear how Cam Newton is now an MVP candidate. Not sure what the CAR winning string stems from but it’s not Cam Newton. Coming into this season he had a career losing record. Looking at his stats they are pretty much the same as every other season. Com% the worst of his career so far, QB rating the same. TD% slight increase but that is offset by INT% increase. If the guy is performing the same as every other season and was not considered an MVP candidate, I can’t see why everyone thinks he’s playing great this season. Some guys you can see make a jump in performance, I don’t see where Newton has improved and playing the QB position better than previous seasons. Maybe there are some pay for advanced stats somewhere that shed some light on it.

    • hail74 - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      I agree. It’s only happening because the team is undefeated and he’s the QB. They do score touchdowns but that defense is giving them an impressive amount of drives to work with, about two more per game than the skins. We pass more than they do so no surprise on more yards but they have a higher avg per pass. Both teams avg 4.1 yds/carry rushing. That defense is the difference maker. Kuechly and Davis are the co-Mvps

      • sidepull - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:17 PM

        Those LB’s get on the ball carrier quick! It amazing to watch that speed.

        • babyteal1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:19 PM

          Something our LB’s lack.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      I wouldn’t consider him having a legitimate chance of being a MVP but Cam Newton has improved as a QB; or maybe the best way to put it is that he has matured in becoming a decent operator of his offense. You forget he is playing with no WR threat after Kelvin Benjamin went down with an ACL injury in preseason. He is major threat both throwing and running the ball. He has a 15-9 TD/INT very close to Cousins 14-9 TD/INT. Don’t be surprised if you find him being the second best QB this team has faced this year.

    • Rich Tandler - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM

      I’m a fan of advanced stats as much as the next guy but they don’t tell the whole story. But may I suggest that you watch a Carolina game? If you can’t see how Newton almost wills them to wins, I can’t help you.

      • brucefan1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:54 PM

        Rich posted “Newton almost wills them to wins”

        Key point.

        So who’s gonna WILL the Redskins to win?

        Kirk maybe? He’s certainly revealing some hidden fire. Trent? He’s a vocal captain; he’s capable. Keenan? Bro’s got a ‘tude. Nice! Just gotta get healthy enough to force it down the opponent’s throat. So does D.Hall — and now HE’S back and helping out at CB AND safety. Gotta LOVE IT! Culliver seems to bring some swag, as does Dashon Golston (but now their play has to match their swagger). And speaking of swagger, Big Swaggy has it in spades — and can back it up with in the trenches.

        If a few of these guys (or better yet, all of them) get it in their heads to will this team to levels of play of which they may not have previously thought they were capable, then the Panthers are doable, imho.

        I mean, why should Newton be allowed to hog all the willpower??

      • renhoekk2 - Nov 19, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        I have seen CAR play. PHI game. And it wasn’t a criticism of you personally RIch. I’ve been hearing Cam for MVP from other analyst as well. I’m sure he has tried to will them to victory other seasons. I’m not saying he’s a bad QB. I don’t see a change in his approach or performance this season from any of the losing seasons he’s led his team to. Hard to see that as MVP worthy. If they had a few fluke plays (blocked FG, put return for TD) that led to a 7-2 or 6-3 record no one would be talking about Cam Newton’s play being MVP worthy.

    • Eli Alvah - Nov 19, 2015 at 11:12 AM

      “looking at the stats”

      That’s the problem right there. You’re only looking at his stats and drawing all conclusions from that alone. The words “you had to watch him play” have seldom been more appropriate for any player than they are for Cam this season. You won’t see greatness in those stats but make no mistake, he has been great. Consider that Carolina’s offense is ranked 3rd (I stand to be corrected) in the league. He IS the offense. He has TE Greg Olsen and nobody. I mean NOBODY. The kind of stuff Brady has built his legend on. Keep sleeping on Newton bud, but don’t be surprised to see him dabbin’ in your endzone with a big ol’ smile on his face.

  14. berniebernard666 - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Cam Newton is a 6’6 260 pound RUNNING BACK who also throws the football. Force him to read coverages and throw and you beat him. The problem is if you give him lots of time he can complete passes. But on the other hand….if you pressure him and force him out of the pocket then he will run for 8-12 yards and a1st down.

    The only answer is a pass rush that actually gets to him and hits him and sacks him and makes him jumpy in the pocket. If the Redskins can’t do that then the Skins will need at least 4 touchdowns to win this game.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      Easier said than done and you are also oversimplifying his performance at QB. Just because he can run, it doesn’t mean he can’t throw the ball like a quarterback: Cam has 30 completions over 20 yards and 6 over 40 yards. Cousins has 24 completions over 20 yards and 3 over 40 yards. Now, that statistic is behind probably one of the least talented receiving cores in football. Cousins has all-pro receivers when compared to what Cam throws to every week. Also sacking him isn’t going to be easy with only 18 sacks currently for the season. It can be done but I don’t think going after Cam is the answer with this defense.

      Also, which one are you suggesting both statements completely contradict one another. Any way I think the first one is on the correct path. The answer is in the coverage. Eliminate his deep option and use Robinson/Riley to follow his movements along the line. Use those inside linebackers to seal off his running lanes.

  15. John - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Panthers offense does not hit many big plays. Their best weapon in the passing game is Olsen. Thyey due turn the ball over some. Take away Olsen and wrap up Cam.

    The Panthers defense is the strength of the team. They use trap zones which my be a problem for Kirk. They don’t score a lot but let you make mistakes and take advantage of those opportunities.

  16. John - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    They may not have the toughest schedule but they are 9 – 0. They don’t have the greatest stats but they win. Their defense is not one to be overlooked. Offense puts people in the seats but defense wins championships.

  17. lorcanbonda - Nov 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    The Redskins have a better chance of winning than the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

  18. sidepull - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    A lot of this same kind of talk before the Rams game, the defense, no chance, I like it. We need a good slobberknocker. Two teams this season, both undefeated, on the schedule. Hope he Redskins don’t show up like they did in NE and more like they did with the Rams. can be done but its going to take a solid performance on all fronts.

  19. JOHNNY B - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    We have been on a steady pace with improvement all season. Getting better every week. I think that we can win

  20. Nectarcollector - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    Good point color. Carolina hasn’t played great teams and won. Not buying into panthers either.

  21. Nectar collector - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    Hope they keep running game like last week. Let Morris run and get warmed up. Don’t give ball to jones on fourth quarter critical drives Exocet screens. Too dangerous with fumbling. He’s only played ten NFL games. Gruden seems to get to high on jones and runs him too much without Morris running too and that’s when he fumbles. Keep two headed monster going. And Morris can’t get yards unless he gets consistent touches. Last week was great balance of them two backs

    And cousins wins offensive okayer of week yet again. For cousins haters ur theory’s are falling apart

  22. rtcwon - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    All the defensive players need to know and accept, Cam is much faster than you. The only CBs that can keep up are coming off injuries. Sorry Kyshoen, Cam smokes you in a foot race. That’s OK, just be sure to adjust your angle, hit him AND hold on tight to at least a foot.

  23. bangkokben - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    Carolina has won 13 regular season games in a row going back to last year. They also beat the Arizona Cardinals last year in the playoffs before losing to the 2014 Seattle Seahawks. Since the folks “up here” on this blog like to diminish wins – especially if it’s of the home team – let’s take a slightly closer look at those 14 victories. All of the regular season opponents were teams of LOSING records except for Green Bay. The victory over the Cardinals was against a team forced to play with its 3rd string QB. But isn’t that what a building team is suppose to do? Win the winnable games. Carolina is on a 12 game winning streak against loser teams (their last lost was against the then 4-7 Minnesota Vikings Nov 30, 2014).

    All that background is say that IF the Panthers lose Sunday – right or wrong, they will be seen as over-rated – most especially by the “fans” here that are certain of a Redskin defeat. Now IF the Redskins do lose as predicted, then these same “fans” will then see-I-told-you-so us about the mega-failure of the Redskins. These “fans” are LOSERS. They root for a team that they take no joy in when the team wins – and delight in their own “superior intellects” when THEIR team loses – since they accurately predicted it.

    So is Sunday a winnable game? Absolutely but it is a tall challenge. I, for one, will be believing they can – and considering Tampa Bay – will be believing all the way through the end. I will suffer if they lose and will rejoice if they lose. Perhaps that’s a 20th century value.

  24. JOHNNY B - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    Now watch we will beat the Panthers and every game after go to the playoffs and lose. But that’s OK it’s just after that Cousins signs a good contract and then tells Gruden that he doesn’t want to be a pocket passer he wants to learn the spread offense. Lol

    • brucefan1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      Only one irony to add to your litany, JOHNNY B; the Skins go to the playoffs and lose — because Kirk blows out a knee in the first half, and is real gimpy for the rest of the game! Ouch.

      Kidding! Just kidding! Just kidding!!!

  25. Mick - Nov 19, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    I love the Redskins

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