Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Preview, Where To Watch Online: Robert Griffin III Won't Play, But 'Skins Can Still Win With Kirk Cousins
The Washington Redskins will have to beat the Cleveland Browns without sensational rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. That puts the spotlight on another rookie passer, fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins.
NFL.com has reported that Griffin has failed to recover from the injury he suffered against the Baltimore Ravens last week. Cousins entered that game and tied the score by firing a touchdown pass and running in a 2-point conversion.
The Redskins can still win with Cousins, but they will need to lean on their top-ranked running game. That should mean a heavy workload for rookie rusher Alfred Morris.
Washington's zone-based ground game can attack Cleveland's 4-3 defensive front. Morris is prolific when running the zone-stretch and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan should give him 25 carries in this game.
That will apply the pressure to yet another first-year quarterback, Browns starter Brandon Weeden. The 29-year-old rookie has struggled at times this season, but has established a rapport with young wideout Josh Gordon.
Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, is reporting that Robert Griffin III is listed as "questionable" for this Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. The rookie quarterback sensation injured his knee during Week 14's win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Griffin was hurt after a hit from mammoth defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He was replaced by fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, who led the Redskins from eight points down to win the game 31-28.
Cousins, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft, is working with the first team in practice, according to Hanzus. That's significant news for the Redskins, who need to beat the Browns to maintain their late push for the playoffs.
At 7-6, the Redskins could need to win out in order to capture the NFC East title and earn a postseason spot. They are currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys, who entertain the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.
When the New York Giants drafted David Wilson with the final pick of the first round, they hoped they were getting a dynamic playmaker.
That's how it's turned out but the route there hasn't been straightforward. Week 14 will stand as Wilson's breakout moment.
He terrorised the New Orleans Saints in record-setting style. He set a Giants' franchise record for all-purpose yards with 327. Wilson also became the first player in NFL history to post over 200 return yards and 100 yards rushing in the same game.
The second part of that record will likely have pleased the Giants the most. They selected Wilson to boost a ground game that ranked last in the league in 2011.
However, things didn't go to plan as Wilson struggled to rebound from being benched in the season opener. His costly fumble against the Dallas Cowboys was instantly punished by head coach Tom Coughlin.
He benched Wilson straight away, leaving the rookie in tears on the sidelines. It was the low moment of Wilson's rookie campaign.
For one of these teams, this game matters. For the other, it's nothing more than a game of "pride" (if that still means anything in today's day and age). Let's dig into the Thursday Night Football affair and see what's what.
This is an interesting point spread to break down. A week ago the Bengals were -4 favorites in the Vegas look-ahead line. After what happened over the weekend, the books re-opened it at -3. That's a pretty significant adjustment as they went off one key number and onto another. The betting markets disagreed and money has consistently come in on the favorite since Sunday. Right now it sits at -4 to -5, depending on where you shop (odds from SBRforum).
Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan should receive a head coaching opportunity soon. He has the pedigree and scheme-expertise to turn around a team in need of revitalising their offense.
Son of two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Mike, Kyle learned a system that is the envy of the NFL. It is an offense designed around the zone-running game and the play-action pass.
He learned it first from his father and then from Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. In his third season in Washington, Shanahan has adapted that scheme to help put the Redskins in playoff contention.
His reputation has been enhanced by his work with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Shanahan has combined the best elements of his system with Griffin's dynamic, dual-threat athleticism.
He has increased the number of bootlegs and rollout passes in his playbook. The youthful coordinator, who turns 33 today, has also incorporated the short shotgun, or "pistol" formation.