WASHINGTON — I won’t say this too many times this year, but the Redskins are favored this week.
That’s right, they are favored by 5.5 points on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, a team that is beatable, just as the Jaguars were in Week 2. The Titans aren’t as bad as the Jaguars, but they’re close, having escaped with a 16-14 win over Jacksonville last week.
This will also be a pretty good opportunity for Kirk Cousins to show that he isn’t as bad as he’s been playing. The turnovers have been there and they have come at the most inopportune times.
“It’s been two to two and a half quarters where I’ve thrown seven interceptions, and that’s just atrocious,” Cousins said on Wednesday. “The other quarters have not been consistent with that. I think the other quarters, for the most part, have been good football.”
Cousins’ eight interceptions are a league high, something that needs to change if the Redskins want any shot of winning.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether Cousins is able to get over his struggles from a mental standpoint. He started his college career 1-3 at Michigan State, so he’s been here before, but this is a bit different. He knows that his time at the helm is limited, with Gruden saying this week that when Robert Griffin III returns, he will be the starter.
Then there’s the running game. A lot has been made of the fact that this team abandons the run way too early in games, especially in games that are still winnable. Last week, Alfred Morris had 13 carries for 41 yards. That game was winnable into the fourth quarter.
Jay Gruden knows they have to stick with the run, and he knows they need to run the ball better. Players also feel that way.
“We need to stick with it,” Trent Williams said. “We’ll do ourselves better if we stick with the run game a little bit.”
Let’s see whether they can get that going this week against the 25th-ranked team against the run. The Titans are giving up nearly 128 yards a game on the ground.
Under center in Tennessee
The Titans come into the game limping a bit, especially at the quarterback position. I would expect Jake Locker to play, despite missing two and a half games with a thumb injury. He hasn’t been real consistent this year, so again there’s another chance for the Redskins to get to him early and force him into mistakes. But they have to get some pressure on him.
If Locker doesn’t play, Charlie Whitehurst would make his third straight start.
The Redskins enter this game relatively healthy. Defensive end Stephen Bowen and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson both returned to practice this week after starting the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Gruden said that Bowen, being a veteran, has a shot to help this team sooner than Hankerson, and could play this week. Both will be welcome additions.
Trent Williams (knee), Ryan Clark (ankle), David Amerson (concussion) and Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring) all have been limited at times this week, but should play on Sunday.
Robert Griffin III also returned to individual drills this week and is running without a limp. Jay Gruden said he will need about two weeks of practice once he is cleared to be ready to play in a game. Nothing surprises me when it comes to Griffin, although I don’t think he will be ready for the Cowboys game on Monday night in two weeks.
But again, nothing would surprise me.