This week the Skins play across the pond to visit the land I've moved to and love. After a week of Kirk Cousins impersonating English accents and a storm of England related questions and jokes from Redskins beat reporters, Washington still has an actual game to play! Sunday they try to bounce back from a tough loss against the Lions. A win brings the Redskins to a solid 5-3 before their bye week. A loss leaves them at a not terrible but likely a couple games out of the division lead 4-4. It's a big week for taking momentum into a couple weeks of needed rest.
In my Madden simulation this week there we some things that unfortunately made it even less realistic than the game's spin moves and off tackle runs. The Redskins have quite a few injury concerns- more on that later- that the game didn't pick up on. Also, I couldn't set the game to be played in London. I did make sure to set the weather to overcast to get that England in October feel though.
The Redskins came out firing on all cylinders. They marched down the field and made a key third down conversion for a touchdown. The score came on a strike to Jamison Crowder in the endzone. He had a huge game last week and is growing each week as a part of this offense, just ask Ken what he thinks of him. I think the Skins will do the same in real life. Getting on the board early is important against a team with A.J. Green. Washington will need some breathing room on Sunday morning.
The Redskins were up 10-6 at the half. A field goal fiesta and some good play by the Skins' defense to limit the Bengals lead to a relatively boring game until the third. Then, early in the second half, Cousins got strip sacked and it was returned for a touchdown. Last week the Skins struggled to score and they can't afford to make this a habit. Even worse, they can't be in situations where the offense gives away more points off turnovers than the defense gives up.
The Bengals and Redskins traded field goals to bring the score to 16-13 with about five minutes left in the game. After a couple exchanged punts, Cousins had the chance to march down the field with time almost out. With under three minutes to go he carved up the Bengals defense with passes over the middle.
Sadly, much like last week, the Skins couldn't hold the opponent on their last drive. The Bengals got a touchdown pass with 0:00 on the clock.
The Injury Situation
The Redskins have Jordan Reed and Josh Norman coming off of injuries. While they participated on Friday, they still might not play on Sunday. Bashaud Breeland has also had some tweaks and dings so the secondary could be limping in this matchup. Even if these players are in the game, it doesn't mean they'll be at 100%. Additionally, Matt Jones is out. There's sure to be some comments saying this isn't a loss with how Fat Rob looked last week and Jones' fumbling issues. Still, missing bodies can hurt the team's depth. We'll all see on Sunday how the running game looks.
Bits and Bobs
I know that we all jumped up and spilled our snacks and drinks when Cousins ran in the touchdown off the read option. The folks of EA must have been very impressed because Washington ran it multiple times in this simulation. It didn't result in any touchdowns.
Ryan Grant had a massive catch on a third down and forever. No offense to Grant but... I don't think this'll happen in the game. I give some credit to McVay because the Skins actually throw in now sometimes when Grant is but he isn't a big play threat downfield.
This game is a reunion for Coach Gruden. He faces his old team where he made his name (well other than his legendary status in the AFL). I think this Skins will have a reunion with their passing attack from last season. I expect big numbers from the timezone adjusted Kirk Cousins. Look for Jackson to get involved early and Reed and/or Crowder to make some key catches in clutch situations.
I predict A.J. Green to have a big game regardless of how many Redskins defensive backs are hurt or healthy. But I still think the Redskins will come out on top in a high flying affair, 27-20.