Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins Point Spread – Pick ATS

Arizona Cardinals (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 18, 2011, FedEx Field, Landover, Md. TV: FOX
by Ryno, NFL Handicapper,

Point Spread: Az +4/Wash -4
Over/Under Total: 44

The Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins have a few things in common: They both have a new starting quarterback this year, they both don’t have very high expectations this season, they both won at home in Week 1, and they face each other in Week 2.

The Cardinals have Kevin Kolb under center in 2011 and the Redskins are now sporting Rex Grossman as their offensive leader. In Week 1, the Cardinals survived 28-21 over the Carolina Panthers, while the Redskins beat the New York Giants, 28-14.

Kolb had a stellar start to his career in Arizona with 309 passing yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-27 passing. Kolb did lose a fumble but that was the team’s only turnover. The Cardinals survived a monster effort by rookie QB Cam Newton. Trailing 21-14 entering the fourth quarter, Kolb threw a 70-yard TD strike to Early Doucet to tie the game up. Then, Patrick Peterson returned a punt 89 yards for a TD to give the Cardinals the victory.

The Cardinals allowed a modest 74 rushing yards but allowed Newton to throw for 422 yards while intercepting him just once. The Cardinals have to do a better job stopping the pass going forward. If they are allowing a rookie QB in his very first start to go off like that, imagine what some of the top QBs in the league may be able to do against the Cardinals pass defense.

Beanie Wells did a solid job running the ball for the Cardinals with 90 rushing yards and a TD on 18 carries. Doucet led the way with 105 receiving yards on three receptions but Kolb did a nice job spreading the ball around to eight different receivers. Larry Fitzgerald had three catches for 62 yards.

A tie game at halftime went the Redskins way in the second half as they pulled away from the Giants for a 28-14 win in Week 1. After Rex Grossman led the ‘Skins on a scoring drive at the end of the first half that ended with a 6-yard strike to Anthony Armstrong to tie the game up, Ryan Kerrigan picked off Eli Manning for the go-ahead TD in the third quarter. Grossman threw a 4-yard TD to Jabar Gaffney in the fourth quarter to give the Redskins a 2-TD advantage.

The ‘Skins defense did a terrific job against the Giants, holding them to 75 rushing yards, 268 passing yards and no points in the second half. They did allow Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to 122 receiving yards on seven receptions.

Grossman had a very impressive outing with 305 passing yards and two TDs on 21-of-35 passing. Tim Hightower was the primary ball carrier, getting 25 of the team’s 26 carries for 72 yards and a TD. Tight end Fred Davis was Grossman’s top receiver with 105 yards on five catches. Santana Moss led the way in receptions with six of them for 76 yards.

One of these two teams will be very happy to be off to a 2-0 start, especially with a new quarterback under center. Both teams have the ability to move the ball through the air or on the ground. Hightower and Wells are solid running backs, and Fitzgerald and Moss provide their respective teams with solid No. 1 options through the air. The Cardinals have the better offense at each skill position (Kolb, Wells, Fitzgerald) but the Redskins have the advantage on defense. They put on a stellar performance against a very good Giants offense, while the Cardinals struggled to contain a less potent Panthers offensive attack.

This game will come down to which team’s defense steps up more and controls the game. Whichever team is able to keep the opposing offense off the field more, that team will have more of an opportunity to control the ball on offense. Based on performances from Week 1, the Redskins will have that advantage, especially being at home. If they can limit their turnovers and Hightower is able to move the ball down the field consistently, the Redskins should be able to come up with enough offense to win the game. But if they turn the ball over and give Kolb extra opportunities, the Cardinals could steal one on the road.

Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the UNDER 44 points.

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