Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Browns and Redskins Fighting for the Playoffs?

This week, my two favorite NFL teams square off for the first time in four years at a crucial time in the season. Being in separate conferences, the Redskins and Browns rarely face each other. The last time they played each other was back in October 2008 as Washington hosted Cleveland in a 14-11 win while I sat in the nosebleeds. This Sunday, they meet both still in playoff contention this late for the first time in several seasons.

The main story line this week will be the health of rookie of the year/MVP candidate RG3, but the Redskins and Browns also sport several other key rookies. Washington’s Alfred Morris has 1,228 rushing yards, kicker Kai Forbath is 14 of 14 on FGs so far, while backup QB Kirk Cousins won the game for Washington last week. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s rookie trio of Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Morgan are the first rookie QB, RB, and WR combo to start for a team since 1970. Weeden has the most wins for a rookie in team history, Richardson has the most touchdowns for a rookie, even surpassing Jim Brown, while Gordon leads NFL rookies in yardage.

Here are some other quick facts for the match-up: 
  • The Redskins have won four straight for the first time since 2008, including three in a row against NFC East rivals
  • The Browns have won three straight for the first time in three seasons
  • Washington is #5 and #7 in offensive yardage and points in the NFL
  • Cleveland unfortunately lost three games by four points or less, but is #9 in defensive scoring
  • The Browns and Redskins are +8 and +12 in turnover margin, both top ten in the league
  • Washington’s six 30+ point games so far is their most in a season in 16 years
  • Cleveland’s 23 point victory last week was their largest margin in nine seasons

Neither team has been in the playoffs in the past four seasons, but they both are still mathematically alive, and the winner of this game will be one step closer. 

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