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Inside the Numbers - Raiders @ Redskins on the Big Stage!

September 22, 2017
It’s the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football – on NBC – as east meets west for the first time since 2013 and the Raiders first trip to the nation’s capital since 2005.

The Redskins have largely been a horror show in primetime, especially at home, for whatever reason and they usually are not good at handling prosperity, as we’ve mentioned in this space time and time again. They have been very good as an underdog against the spread, as Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog noted.

Point spreads are largely meaningless in my eyes, but the Redskins need every bit of emotion, energy, urgency and anything they can muster this Sunday, as they look for their 13 th win as a underdog in the Kirk Cousins-Jay Gruden era. The Raiders are a 3 to 3.5 point favorite for this matchup.

Let’s take a look at more as we go “Inside the Numbers” for the Raiders and Redskins.

1 – Hogs 3.0?

I don't think the Redskins offensive line is as good as everybody else thinks it is, but last week, they were mostly terrific. 

The self-dubbed "Hogs 2.0" usually comes up short and averages 2.0 per rush attempt, had Brandon Scherff (pictured) and others pulling and usually mauling defenders on their way to a ,mostly   dominant performance against the Rams, helping the team rush for 229 yards total and 167 of those yards in the first half.

On the final drive, after the Redskins struggled to run the ball the entire second half, Jay Gruden went back to a very productive well and had a lot of success once again, breaking the spirit of the Rams and leading to a go-ahead touchdown.

The Redskins offensive line wore out the Rams because of their size and power, but perhaps also because they are a somewhat young unit. Washington’s offensive line averages 27.6 years of age, which is just above the league average of 27.4.

Last week, in “Inside the Numbers”  - we broke down where the Redskins rank compared to the NFC and the rest of the NFL in some key age and weight areas.

Speaking of offensive line play and average age – after week three concludes – the Redskins will have gone up against the top three oldest offensive lines in the NFL, per Mike Sando of ESPN.

The Rams (week 2) are the oldest at 29.4 years of age. The Raiders (week 3) are second at 29.2 and the Eagles (week 1) are third at 29.0.


II –  Monsters of the Left Coast?

Speaking of the Raiders offensive line, they are pretty damn good and they should be. The Raiders are spending the most amount of money in the NFL on this unit, during the 2017 season, per OvertheCap.com.

Oakland’s investment ($43.16 million) is about nine million dollars more than the Redskins investment ($34.36 million) and is about $1.5 million more than any other team in the league. 

The unit, which consists of Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Marshall Newhouse from left to right is a dominant group for more than just money reasons.

According to the NFL’s Next Generation Stats analytics, the Raiders O-Line allowed a pressure rate of 0% in their week two throttling of the New York Jets. The Jets don’t have much, but they still have a strong defensive line. In week one, against the Titans, in Nashville, the Raiders allowed some pressure but not a ton.  

The Redskins have shown a good pass rush so far, even though the numbers do not exactly tell the whole story, with Preston Smith racking up two sacks and forcing an intentional grounding, Ryan Kerrigan has 1.5 sacks and Matt Ioannidis has a half sack.

Ioannidis has steadily improved as we displayed here and Junior Galette has flashed at times through two games. Rookie Jonathan Allen has also provided a bit of a spark, but still does not have a sack..

Opponents only have two sacks so far this year of Derek Carr and only had 18.0 in 2016. Clearly, the Redskins will be beyond challenged.

III – Running Over Oakland?

Can the Redskins repeat what they did last week in Los Angeles? No. It’s not going to happen. Again, they ran for 229 yards on 39 attempts for a 5.9 average in the win over the Rams.

The 229-yard performance was their second-highest mark in the Jay Gruden era as they were a yard short of the 230 yards they ran for against Philadelphia in a week six win at FedExField last year.

Washington racked up 167 yards in the first half, the most as a team in the first half since December 2010 against Tampa (174).

The 39 rushing attempts was the second most in Jay Gruden’s 3 + seasons as head coach, only surpassed by a blowout home debut win in 2014 against Jacksonville. That game was very different than last week, however. It was a blowout from the start and Kirk Cousins replaced Robert Griffin III early, due to injury.

Robert Kelley’s 63 rushing yards in the first quarter was the most by a Redskins running back in the opening 15 minutes since Alfred Morris had 70 late in his rookie season against Baltimore, in 2012.

According to Redskins PR, Rob Kelley’s 78 rushing yards and Chris Thompson’s 77 rushing yards in the first half, was the first time since December of 2005.


Chris Thompson practice
On Sunday night, the Redskins running attack goes against an Oakland defense that allowed an average of 117.6 yards (23 rd) per game last year on the ground. That’s an average of 4.46 yards per rushing attempt (25 th). This year, early on, Oakland is averaging 110.5 (19 th) yards per game and 4.80 yards per attempt (221/46). Oakland is 26 th in rushing yards per play allowed. 

It’s very early, and statistics are skewed as these numbers show, with New England and Atlanta, two teams who played in the Super Bowl last year being the worst at defending the run thru the first two weeks.

  IV. – Carr’s Ride!

Derek Carr agreed to a long-term contract extension over the summer, a deal that in some ways hurt the market value of Kirk Cousins, but the two are in very different positions. Whatever.

Now they face-off on a primetime stage. Carr has thrown 86 career touchdown passes and this will be his 50 th career start. He had three last week in a blowout over the Jets.

Per NFL Communications, if Carr throws four touchdown passes Sunday night, he would become the sixth quarterback in league history to throw 90 or more touchdown passes in their first 50 career games. Dan Marino, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Carson Palmer are the only others.

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com).  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN    


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