Allow fewer than 110 rushing yards per game: The Redskins used first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, and now is the time for them to start dominating in the trenches. Last season, nine teams held their opponents to fewer than 110 rushing yards per game, and eight of them made the playoffs.
Keep Case Keenum’s interception percentage under 2%: When the journeyman led the Vikings to the NFC title game in 2017, he threw just seven interceptions in 481 passing attempts (1.5% of his throws). Last year with the Broncos, he set a career high in passing yards (3,890), but he threw 15 picks and his interception rate rose to 2.6%. As a result, Denver went 6-10.
Average more than 30 minutes per game in time of possession: For the Redskins to be successful, they will need to replicate a run-oriented, ball-control style that worked for parts of last season. In 2018, they were 5-3 when they won the time of possession battle (more than 30 minutes), and just 2-6 when they lost it. Controlling the clock will keep their talented defense fresh.
Find a 1,000-yard receiver: In 2018, Jordan Reed led the team with just 558 yards receiving. The Redskins didn’t really add any playmakers this offseason, but if Reed and Paul Richardson are healthy, they are capable of reaching the 1,000-yard mark. In 2018, all but four of 12 playoff teams had a player with 1,000 yards receiving, and the Rams and Chiefs each had two.
Rack up at least 50 sacks: In this pass-happy league, an effective pass rush is essential. Four defenses had at least 50 sacks last season, and those teams went a combined 41-21-2 (.656 winning percentage). The Redskins, who had 46 sacks last year, feature a stout defensive line and two talented edge rushers in Ryan Kerrigan and rookie Montez Sweat.
Run the ball more than 30 times per game: To control the clock, Washington needs to have success on the ground and be committed to the run. In 2018, the Redskins were 5-1 when they had at least 30 rushes. And they were 0-6 when they failed to reach 100 yards rushing. Their versatile backfield of Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson should be a strength.
Get Tress Way’s net punting average higher than 42 yards: As much as fans — and some coaches — hate to admit it, special teams matter. Last year, six punters had a net average higher than 42 yards and five of them were on a playoff team. Way, who had a 41.5 net average last year, is an elite punter and is capable of influencing a game by flipping field position.
Rank in the top 10 in the league in turnover ratio: High-scoring offenses can at times overcome turnovers, but the Redskins are not a team that’s talented enough to make up for mistakes. Over the past 20 years, Washington has ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in turnover ratio five times, including in 2018, and it made the playoffs in three of those seasons.