1. QB Kirk Cousins
This is important for Kirk Cousins for many different reasons. The first is, of course, that the Redskins need a win to keep pace with the other teams in the NFC East. Sporting a 2-2 record, the Redskins currently have an advantage over the Dallas Cowboys, but they are trailing the Philadelphia Eagles. When Cousins plays well, the Redskins are tough to beat. When he doesn’t, they have a tough time emerging victorious. So for that reason, this game is important.
However, on another level, this game could be a key one to Cousins as he approaches free agency. The 49ers are one team that has a great level of interest in him and his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, has showed a lot of interest in him as a player.
With a strong performance against Shanahan’s 49ers, that could convince the 49ers brass that Cousins is the potential answer to their problems at the quarterback position which would lead them to offer him a big deal if he hits the open market. That would give him more bargaining power in negotiations with teams, including the Redskins, to try and get a record breaking deal.
At any rate, Cousins will have a chance to beat up on the weak 49ers secondary. He can target the matchups he likes and will almost certainly have a matchup to win on every play. Cousins could end up having a big day, and the Redskins will be in good shape if he does.
Cousins is the top player to watch this week, as he is in many of the matchups for the Redskins over the course of the season. But this matchup could do the most to help determine Cousins’ future if he hits the open market. It will be interesting to see what Shanahan says about the Redskins quarterback in the lead up and aftermath of the contest.