Five questions Redskins beat writer Zac Boyer has heading into Washington’s Sunday afternoon game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
1. Will the running game rebound?
The Redskins gained 139 rushing yards in a loss on Sunday to the New York Giants, including a season-high 88 from quarterback Robert Griffin III. The rest of the rushing game, however, was limited to just 51 yards, with the Giants trying to take the Redskins’ running backs out of the game. The Chiefs have the 11th-ranked run defense and will provide Washington with another test.
2. Who will win the turnover battle?
The Chiefs rank first in the league with a plus-14 turnover margin, held up on the strength of their defense’s 26 takeaways and quarterback Alex Smith’s six interceptions. The Redskins have forced turnovers in 11 of 12 games thus far and have returned five for a touchdown. Not making mistakes, and capitalizing upon them, will be important for the Redskins.
3. Are Jordan Reed and Reed Doughty ready to return after concussions?
Reed missed his second consecutive game on Sunday after experiencing headaches over the weekend and following his pregame workout, while Doughty sustained his second concussion of the season while being blocked late in the second quarter. Both players followed the league’s protocol all week and will only be able to play if they continue to pass testing this weekend.
4. Can another special teams miscue be avoided?
Another chapter in the book of blunders was written on Sunday when a premature snap led to a tipped punt that traveled just 18 yards late in the third quarter. The Chiefs have the best starting field position in the league, beginning on average just shy of the 32-yard line, behind punt returner Dexter McCluster and kickoff returner Quintin Demps. There will likely be a lot of directional kicking on Sunday.
5. Will the Redskins be motivated?
After being eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, the Redskins’ final four games will lack any true meaning — a familiar scenario as the schedule turns to December. Coaches and players alike will be fighting for their jobs over the next month, with several defensive players in the final year of their contract, and if team goals aren’t attainable, individual goals still are.