Hey, let’s play Predictions! Last week’s winner is Phil Reed, who nailed his Ravens game pick and has a doozy of a guest post coming. A reminder on how it works, for the uninitiated:
Our Redskins-loving “staff” makes predictions in the post, readers make predictions in the comments, and the commenter who comes closest to predicting the final score gets to make a guest post. Hip-hip!
UPDATE: Kirk Cousins is starting, per the Redskins.
On the surface, the only thing about the Browns that should scare us is Trent Richardson. Then you find out he’s rushing for just 3.5 yards per carry (40th in the NFL) and realize there’s really nothing about the Browns offense that should worry the Skins. Even with their shoddy defense. Brandon Weeden has more picks than TDs and averages 6.5 yards per attempt. They rank 28th out of 32 in offensive efficiency. And while their defense isn’t quite as inept, it’s not great either, ranking 17th in efficiency. Regardless of who starts at QB for the Skins, I have a hard time believing Washington won’t put up more points than Cleveland.
With RGIII — Redskins, 27-16
Without RGIII — Redskins, 20-16
With RGIII — Redskins, 14-12. The Browns defense makes it their mission to knock Griffin out of the game. Trent Richardson rushes for 148 yards in the first half and for minus-6 in the second half, and the Redskins defense continues to bend but not break. I spend the entire game curled in the fetal position and hyperventilate every time Griffin leaves the pocket. Amidst all the drama, the Redskins win an ugly one.
Without RGIII — Browns, 19-14. Trent Richardson rushes for 148 yards in the first half, and for minus-6 in the second half, and the Redskins defense continues to bend but not break. Cousins acquits himself well in general but proves that Griffin’s underrated gift this year has been his ability to avoid costly turnovers; a Cousins pick-6 is the difference.
With RGIII — He’s not going to play.
Without RGIII — I think the Skins rally around Cousins. He is still pretty good, and the defense shows up against the Browns. Trent Richardson never really gets going for Cleveland, and the offense does enough to win. Redskins, 20-14.
RGIII starts and finishes the game. He leaves the pocket only 4 times all game. He throws 4 TDs and the legend grows out of control. This isn’t quite to the point that would maximum the total crushing of DC fans (not quite 2 outs and 2 strikes yet). That will come in week 17 when with a playoff berth insights, Skins lose to Dallas. This week, Skins, 31-23.
With RGIII — Skins play it close to the vest, trying to limit Bob’s exposure, and struggle to run against an underrated Browns defense. But as much as Cleveland may be stronger than they appear, that strength, at least on offense, is not in the passing game. Good matchup for the Skins D. Now there’s something I’ve never said this season. Skins 17-16
Without RGIII — Going the other way here, but I think Cousins may actually give them a little more freedom in the playcalling area, albeit a different set of plays/packages, and the team really steps up around him. Skins 27-24
With RGIII — Redskins win a close one 20-17 (HAIL KAI). RGIII will limp around between plays, but once the ball is snapped he’ll look fine. The defense will contain Trent Richardson (which isn’t nearly as tough to do as some people seem to think), and they’ll keep a lid on the deep passing plays for the most part.
Without RGIII — He’s playing. 20-17.
With RGIII — Redskins, 27-20
Without RGIII — Redskins, 21-20
Composite prediction: With RGIII, 26-17. Without RGIII, 21-18.
(Cleveland RGIII image taken with love from Redskins Hogs Heaven.)