Washington Redskins (1-4 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time: October 12 4:25pm ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WASH +3.5/ARI -3.5
Over/Under Total: OFF (10/8)
There is still so much football to be played with only five weeks completed on the NFL schedule but there are a handful of teams that are already pressing that panic button. The Washington Redskins are one such team and they travel to Arizona this week to take on the Cardinals. At 1-4, Washington can simply not afford another loss if they have any hopes of making the playoffs but they do catch Arizona while the Redbirds are dealing with a QB crisis.
That QB mess in Arizona is due to injury as Carson Palmer is still dealing with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder and Drew Stanton left last weeks contest with a concussion. Palmer may play, Stanton could suit up or it might be Logan Thomas under center come Sunday and the online betting sites are pretty quiet so far. The few lines out there suggest that Arizona will be a 3.5 or 4 point favorite but that could change once a QB is officially named. The over/under total for the game is OFF as of Wednesday night.
The Redskins are a bit of a mystery as they have played well on paper but that has only added up to one win, a 41-10 victory against Jacksonville. Washington most recently fell to Seattle on Monday Night Football and stayed with the defending champions before being dropped 27-17. Washington is top-7 in passing and total yards but that hasnt added up to points all the time with the Redskins at 19th in points for at 22.4 per contest. The defense is top-15 in passing, rushing and total yards allowed but still give up 27.2 PPG, 27th in the league. Things just dont seem to add up for Washington.
Arizona, on the other hand, seems to be able to make the most of each week and have three wins despite never scoring more than 25 points. The Cards were humbled at Denver last week by a 41-20 score but that was Peyton Manning off a bye and no one really expected much more, especially without Palmer. Arizona gives up the 4th fewest yards on the ground and 13th fewest points per game but those are the only two stats, offense or defense, that fall inside the top-20.
This truly is the injury bug game and whoever gets the most out of their replacements just might win on that alone. Washington hopes to get TE Jordan Reed back this week and could be without S Ryan Clark and DB Tracy Porter. The defense desperately needs healthy bodies as only Ryan Kerrigan (6 sacks) has proven to be a difference maker. Alongside Palmer and Stanton, the Cardinals list CB Patrick Peterson as questionable with an ankle injury and will be without DE Calais Campbell as he deals with a sprained MCL. Peterson and Campbell are Pro Bowl caliber players and Arizona is not the same defense without them.
Kirk Cousins has played well outside the Giants game and has proved he can move the ball, passing for 1,217 yards with eight scores against five picks. He has options with DeSean Jackson, Niles Paul and Pierre Garcon and they should be able to throw, especially if Peterson is out or limited. Alfred Morris leads the team with 345 rushing yards and three touchdowns but there have been very few big plays for the offense in total. Outside a couple of big throws to Jackson, the Skins have been very dink-and-dunk dependent and that is what has made points tough to come by.
The quarterback carousel needs to stop soon in Arizona as it is just causing too many inconsistencies. No Cardinal receiver has more than 13 catches at this point and the running game has stalled right alongside with only 88 yards per game coming on the ground. The 2000 Ravens look like a dynamic offense next to Arizona. Andre Ellington showed he is a gamebreaker on his 81-yard catch and run last week but there isnt much else to depend on until Palmer gets back healthy and up to speed.
I could get burnt by handicapping this one without all the information but my overall feel here is that Washington is the better play even with Palmer at QB, if that happens. The Redskins are travelling on a short week but there isnt anything to suggest that Arizona is three or more points better than anyone at this point, even at home. Injuries to the Cardinals defense and spotty offense will keep Washington in this game and Cousins should be able to make the two or three plays to put points up. The Cardinals should put up their normal 18-23 points per game and Washington can match. Arizona 22 Washington 20
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: WASHINGTON