Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 8 Preview: Skins head to London



The Washington Redskins would love to head into their bye week at 5-3. To do so, they’ll have fend off Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals in London.

The Redskins are no strangers to London and Wembley Stadium. After Washington’s last Super Bowl victory in 1991, the Redskins played an exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers in August 1992 . The NFL wanted to the Redskins to play in the American Bowl during the 86′ preseason but Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs opposed the idea.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Redskins are now playing their first regular season game in London. Jay Gruden served as the Bengals offensive coordinator from 2010-13. During that time he helped develop “The Red Rifle” Andy Dalton into a solid NFL quarterback. Gruden recently voiced his excitement about the game.

“I have the utmost respect for [Bengals owner] Mike Brown and Marvin, obviously,” Gruden said. “They gave me a great opportunity and I had a lot of fun over there. So, yeah, it’s going to be special to see those guys again. We did a lot of great things over there, we thought, but come game time it’s going to be another game that we have to win. We have got to find a way to win. They’re very well-coached, they have a good football team – a lot of talent, both sides of the ball, special teams. It will be a great test for us.”

Although the Cincinnati Bengals are 3-4, they have more than enough talent on their roster to hand Washington its fourth loss. The Bengals have losses against the Steelers, Broncos, Cowboys, and Patriots. Those four teams are a joint 20-7.

Andy Dalton has a solid running back tandem in Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill. AJ Green is the best receiver in the NFL now and Tyler Eifert is easing his way back into the lineup after battling ankle and back injuries. Green leads the league with 50 catches and is second in yards with 775. He also has three touchdowns.

Last year, the Bengals finshed second in points allowed. However, through seven games in 2016 the Bengals rank 19th in the NFL allowing 23.1 ppg. Cincinnati has playmakers at defensive tackle in Geno Atkins. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap is a solid edge rusher and linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a thumper. Veteran defensive back Adam Jones adds a solid dimension within the secondary.

The Wounded Redskins

Trent Williams, Jordan Reed, and Josh Norman are all questionable heading into Sunday’s matchup. Reed has missed the past two games to a concussion he sustained against Baltimore in week five. Norman left last week’s game against the Lions with a concussion after allowing a 52-yard catch to Marvin Jones. Williams‘ knee was “rolled on”injured during the second to last play against Detroit.

Despite legitimate injuries to Washington’s three best players, all three should play against the Bengals. Reed and Norman both practiced Friday. The “Silverback” has been limping noticeably all week, but Williams has said throughout the week he expects to play. Starting running back Matt Jones was ruled out to a knee injury he sustained against Detroit.

“Code Red: The Sequel”

A Redskins loss and two consecutive wins by the Dallas Cowboys could put the Redskins in a three game hole within the NFC East by the time Washington returns from its bye. After a demoralizing loss against the Lions, the Redskins desperately need to leave London with a victory to boost their morale heading into the bye week. Robert Kelley will get his first start at running back. With a golden opportunity, Kelley could potentially seize the starting job. The Bengals rank 23rd against the run allowing 118.4 rushing yards per game.On the season, Kelley averages 6.1 yards per carry.

The return of Jordan Reed bodes well for the offense and Kirk Cousins. Reed will be a tough assignment for the linebackers and safeties of the Bengals. The Bengals allow 13.97 ypc to opposing tight ends. Last year before the bye, Kirk Cousins delivered the biggest comeback in franchise history against Tampa Bay. Cousins has looked solid this season at times, but for the Redskins to truly take the next step, they need Cousins to go on a stretch like he did in the second half of 2015.

Tale of the Tape

Both teams seem to be evenly matched heading into Sunday’s game. Washington is sixth in total offense (390.6 ypc) 16th in scoring (22.7 ppg). Defensively the Redskins are 18th in points allowed per game allowing 23.1 points. They rank 20th in yards allowed with 363.3 yards. Cincinnati is 23rd in ppg (20.0) and fifth in total yards on offense. (392.6)  On defense, the Bengals allow 23.1 ppg good enough for 18th in the NFL. They are also 15th in total defense allowing 354.6 yards per contest.

Game Prediction

On paper, both teams are pretty much statistically even. The Bengals however have the more complete team. The Bengals are more balanced on offense with the weapons they have in the passing and running game. Unfortunately for the Redskins, it looks like they’ll be leaving London without a win. Cincinnati 31 Washington 24.