Oct 8, 2016, 6:40 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 8, one day before the Washington Redskins go up the road to play the Ravens in Baltimore.
—Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability
—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Lions 15; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 22
Five Redskins who must come through to beat the Ravens
QB Kirk Cousins—As noted a couple of weeks ago, Cousins has a permanent spot on this list until he has a couple of late 2015-style games in a row. He wasn’t bad against the Browns with three touchdown passes but he had that head-scratching interception and the offense mostly disappeared on the second and third quarter. The Washington defense is not suddenly going to morph into a top-10 unit; the pressure will be on the offense to win games. The Redskins are going to have to put up about 28 points to beat the Ravens and Cousins will need to be on point.
WR DeSean Jackson—The Redskins aren’t going to beat the Ravens with a bunch of 10-12 play drives. Baltimore is too good defensively and the Redskins have a tendency to stall drives themselves with penalties. They will need Jackson to connect with Cousins to get a couple of big chunks of yardage to move things along.
OLB Preston Smith—He was on this list last week and, like Cousins, he will remain on it in Sharpie until he comes thorough with a couple of games like he had in the latter stages of last year. There is no better time for Smith to get his first sack of the year than this Sunday. With Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley likely out with a foot injury Smith could line up against Alex Lewis, a rookie guard who would slide out to left tackle. Smith has been close with four quarterback hits and six hurries. He needs to find that extra half step and maybe going up against Lewis will give him the edge he needs to get going.
ILB Will Compton—Compton is the chess player, adjusting the defense as the offense shifts and shows some keys. The defense has struggled in two games against rookie quarterbacks and now they go up against Joe Flacco, who has 141 games under his belt including 15 in the playoffs. Compton will need to get the defense aligned properly and while he’s at it he needs to up his own level of play. He has 15 solo tackles in four games, not enough for the Mike linebacker spot.
CB Quinton Dunbar—With Bashaud Breeland on the shelf for another game Dunbar steps into the starting lineup again. If the Redskins have Josh Norman trailing Steve Smith then Dunbar will often match up against speedy Mike Wallace. If they don’t trail and just play sides then Dunbar will get his share of matchups with Smith. In either case he has to play sound football and prevent the big play against Flacco, who likes to launch passes downfield.
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