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Grant's Slant: Redskins-Cardinals Season Opener

September 06, 2018 - 3:44 pm

By Grant Paulsen

All teams want to start fast. The Redskins might need to.

They play consecutive games against teams with first-time head coaches before a scheduling stretch that boasts three straight showdowns with likely NFC playoff teams. Arizona is far from a pushover, but If Washington can't beat the pedestrian squads they've been gifted in the first two weeks, they might be in big trouble before the season even gets going.

With that in mind, here are my slants for Week 1.

Redskin To Watch: Ryan Kerrigan

Kerrigan loves season openers. The eighth-year linebacker has played in 112 games and scored three touchdowns, two of them in Week 1. He took an interception back for a touchdown in the first game of his career back in 2011, then duplicated that accomplishment with a pick-six off Carson Wentz of the Eagles early last September.

In seven career Week 1 games, Kerrigan has managed at least a half-sack five times. He's gotten to the quarterback in each of Washington's last three games to open a new slate. He will be a factor this weekend.

Cardinal To Watch: Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald looks at the Redskins' defense like a college senior looks at a cooler of beer. Now 35, Fitzgerald doesn't seem to be aging. Even though the former Pitt standout doesn't go for 133 yards against the Redskins every time he plays them (although he did do that at FedEx Field once), he seems to always make the back-breaking catch.

With Quinton Dunbar now starting for the first time, Josh Norman should be following him around the field. Why else are you paying Norman like he is one of the best cornerbacks in football? But I'm not confident that will happen. Fitzgerald is going to get looks against Norman, Dunbar and possibly even unproven nickle defender Fabian Moreau. He will get a chance to make a big impact.

Stat Of The Week: Adrian Peterson

A future Hall of Famer looking to make a strong first impression, Peterson (12,276 yards) needs just 37 rushing yards to surpass Cleveland legend Jim Brown for 10th on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

Prediction: Redskins 24, Cardinals 20

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