Green Bay Packers (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (5-3-1 SU, 6-3 ATS)
NFL Football Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20 at 8:30pm ET
Where: FedEx Field
by Evergreen, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +2.5/WASH -2.5
Over/Under Total: 50.5
We might be just past the half way bell for the NFL season but the pressure is on for many teams that are struggling to meet preseason expectations. Green Bay had SuperBowl aspirations at the start of this season but things have broken bad for the Packers as they enter the week at 4-5 and looking to end a three game losing streak. The Washington Redskins are in decent position to make a postseason appearance but they are losing touch with the division leading Cowboys and can ill afford losses that will send them backward in the wildcard race. These teams square off on Sunday Night Football this weekend with a lot on the line for both.
Green Bay is not used to being an underdog but the online betting sites like Washington as 2.5 point favorites here. The Packers are a public favorite and get plenty of action regardless of how they are playing but the Skins are currently seeing about 53% of the public money fall on their side. Green Bay is 7-3 against the spread in their last ten road games but Washington is 6-1 ATS in the last seven against a sub-.500 opponent. The Sagarin computers have these teams back-to-back in the rankings with Green Bay at 18th and Washington 19th. The Packers have had the easier schedule of the two and the offense-defense method predicts a 28-23 Redskin win.
These teams did meet in 2016 during the Wildcard round of last season’s playoffs. The scene was very similar to this week as Green Bay was limping into FedEx Field to face a seemingly better Washington team. The Pack trailed 11-0 in the early going before getting on track behind two Aaron Rodgers touchdowns and eventually pulled out a 35-18 win. Kirk Cousins did throw for 329 yards in that game and Jordan Reed had his way against the Green Bay defense but it was the Packers that came up with four sacks to put a lid on things. There are some new faces on each team since that meeting but many of the principal contributors are in place for Washington so the revenge factor is in play.
The struggles of the Packer offense are well documented at this point. Injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks forced Green Bay to all but abandon the run and spread out the formations with five wide receivers. That has lent some success based on the talent level of Aaron Rodgers but there is still a lack of consistency and efficiency on offense. Starks is back in action and Green Bay just claimed Christine Michael off waivers but it appears that the pass-first scheme is here to stay for the time being. Mike McCarthy is likely coaching for his job so you would assume that he wants to go down with his Pro Bowl QB winging it instead of handing it off to journeyman running backs. Green Bay ranks 15th in total yards per game and averages an 11th best, 24.8 points per contest.
Washington seems in a much better position on the offensive side of things. Cousins has led the Skins passing game to a 3rd best output of 294 yards per game and the O is averaging over 400 total yards per week. The offensive line has played well in terms of keeping the QB upright by allowing just 12 sacks so far. They aren’t quite as good at making room for the running backs but Washington mixes the rush in well enough to win the time of possession battle. Rob Kelley has taken over for the ailing Matt Jones in the backfield and he is the 4.8 yards per carry bruiser with Chris Thompson taking the third down and pass catching duties. DeSean Jackson may be cleared to play this weekend, giving Cousins a big play threat to go with possession guys like Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon. I say it every week when I talk about the Packers. Look for the tight end to have a great day against a Green Bay defense that seems allergic to covering the middle of the field. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis could be in for a very big day just like Delanie Walker had last week in Tennessee.
Injuries have been a big problem for Green Bay and a fresh batch is ready to limit them this Sunday. Three offensive linemen, JC Tretter, T.J. Lang and David Bakhtiari are listed as questionable and could miss the game. That further hampers an already suspect running game and Green Bay has allowed 22 sacks before the rash of injuries. Clay Matthews is scheduled to miss another game with a bad hammy and the defense has really missed his playmaking ability. Through the first five weeks, Green Bay led the NFL by holding the opposing run game to less than one yard per carry before contact. That number has ballooned to 2.5 yards before first contact in the last four weeks, good for 27th over that span and offenses have been able to stay on schedule against the Packers much more often. The Washington defense is average at best but the Skins probably have the edge if this turns into a back and forth shootout kind of game.
This is probably a good bet to push the over as both offenses are much more capable than their defensive counterparts. Green Bay struggled last season for a variety of reasons but they lost to good teams like Denver and Carolina on their way to a so-so season. They haven’t cured the ills of 2015 despite getting Jordy Nelson back and playing a much softer schedule. The sky might actually be falling in Green Bay and it would be set to land on the heads of McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson. Washington has the better offense, and their defense has played better against the QB than Green Bay has. Aaron Rodgers can do a lot that other quarterbacks can’t but the Tennessee game last week exposed that even he can’t do it all by himself. The Packers are a scary team to bet against but they are just too banged up and underperforming to bet on right now. Take the Redskins to snag a 30-26 win.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Washington
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