2009 NFL Sleeper: The Washington Redskins

The Redskins: This Season’s NFL Sleeper Team
By David A Lane of Predictem.com

Sometimes, NFL sleepers can be perfectly obvious because of one reason or another and as a gambler when you identify a team as such, you can jump aboard the train early and might just be able to ride it all the way to the bank.

When a team signs the biggest free agent available in the off-season, and that free agent happens to be Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, that team the Washington Redskins- stand to benefit immediately. Capitalizing on this knowledge before the books adjust their lines accordingly is a matter of timing and financial gain, because early on, you should catch some favorable numbers (futures wagers) to take advantage of.

There are actually other reasons that point to the Washington Redskins being a surprise team this season. One of those being that they drafted 64 260 pound stud defensive end from the University of Texas Brian Orakpo, who has been tearing it up in the preseason already. Orakpo coupled with Haynesworth can disrupt the most solid of offensive lines in the league.

The team has played Orakpo at both end and linebacker thus far in the pre-season, depending on the defensive set being run. The team has been alternating between both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, putting him in an even better position to rush the quarterback and roam free to make tackles- which is when he is at his best. When the team is in the nickel or a regular set, can also dictate where on the field hell be stationed- a fact that when added with watching for where Big Albert is on the field as well will drive quarterbacks nuts in 2009.

As if adding those two wasnt enough to help shore up an already above average defense- there were only five other teams who gave up less points than the Skins last season.

Oh, and there’s more! The team also added cornerback DeAngelo Hall to bolster their secondary. Not a bad position for Hall to be in, knowing that so much commotion will be going on in front of him- which will surely make a secondary a better unit as more than quite a few dying ducks will be sailing his way since opposing QBs will constantly be under intense pressure and running for their lives.

As if they werent already a favorite to go under the total- doing so in 12 of 16 games last season- they should really be now. That 3-13-1 record against the total was by far the best in the NFL last season. Barring injury, whats ironic is that they could very well improve on that mark. Another mark they can hopefully improve on is their against the spread (ATS) record which at 6-8-2 left a lot of Redskin backers broke and left a lot to be desired as they were two thousand and late in 2008.

Although the Redskins finished 8-8, a record good enough to win the AFC West last season, in the NFC East that record was only good enough for last place.

Thanks to that, theyll be playing a fourth place schedule, one that will also benefit their resurgence.

Though there are nine winning teams on their 2009 schedule, the seven others totaled a 33-79 record in 2008. If they take can take care of business against these teams theyll stand a great chance of success in 09.

On offense, Washington really underachieved last year scoring only 265 points in 17 games (15.58 per game)- good for 28th worst in the league. Obviously, room for improvement is there and the sky is the limit as many of the weapons are already in place for that to happen. Running back Clinton Portis join receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El to provide some serious weapons for Jason Campbell or possibly even rookie QB Chase Daniel if JC should faulter.

The offensive line must gel and do two things for this unit to enjoy success in 09:

1. Open holes for Portis to run through.

2. Give Campbell time to throw.

Though that could be said about most offensive lines, why it matters more with the Skins is because with a defense like they have, it wont take much offense to achieve victory.

Like any other team in the league, Washington must stay mostly healthy for the success to happen this year. Expect good things from this vastly underrated team.

A dominant DT like Haynseworth is a standings changer.

The team is currently sitting at 29 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl, 13-1 to win the NFC, and with their regular season total of wins over/under equaling 8.5, bettors will find tons of value here. As you know, timing is everything and if you’re not sure this is the time to get aboard their bandwagon already, the Redskins defense will soon make you believers by throwing every offense it meets “out of sync” this season.