Washington Redskins (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS)
Pro Football Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 8th, 1:00 PM EST
Where: Foxboro Stadium
by Mike M., Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wash +14 / NE -14
Over/Under Total: 52
The Washington Redskins travel up to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots in a week 9 battle of two well rested teams, as the Redskins are coming in off of a much needed bye and the Patriots will have had ten days of rest after throttling Miami last Thursday night 36-7.
Washington was desperate for the bye as the injury bug has hit them strong of late, especially to their defensive backfield as their three best cornerbacks are all questionable to play on Sunday, Chris Culliver, Deangelo Hall and Bashuad Breeland. This is the last thing a team needs that is already struggling to defend the pass needs, as they rank last in the NFL with only three interceptions on the year and now have to face the second rated passing offense in the NFL. The Redskin offense will also be missing a key component, center Kory Lichtensteiger, who is not expected to suit up on Sunday, which should further hinder an ineffective Washington backfield. The Redskin committee of Matt Jones and Alfred Morris has struggled this year, as the two combined are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, have scored only three touchdowns on the season and neither has gone over 100 yards in a game since week, all of which has been a definitive contributing factor to Washington having the 26th ranked offense in the NFL. Things wont get any easier this weekend against a Patriots defense that shutdown Chris Ivory and Lamar Miller over their past two games.
The Redskin passing game is expected to get a big boost against the Patriots as speedy wide receiver Desean Jackson is listed as probable and is supposed to play on Sunday. This should help Redskins starting quarterback Kirk Cousins immensely, especially on the road where Cousins has struggled, leading the team to a 0-3 record in away games while throwing two interceptions in each of the losses. The team did attempt to trade Cousins backup Robert Griffin III by Tuesdays trade deadline, but to no ones surprise, not a single NFL team was interested in acquiring him. Various reports out of Washington talk of RG III having lost the respect of his teammates, similar to the 49ers Colin Kapernick, who was just pulled from the starting role this week for San Francisco.
While Griffin gets a lot of blame for the Redskins struggles in recent years, the team has gone just 5-15 in games he started since his supposed breakout campaign in 2012, the man who gave up a ransom of picks (three 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder) to acquire Griffin in the first place easily deserves the largest amount of grief, Washington owner Dictator Dan Snyder. In the sixteen years since Snyder bought the team his snide, off-putting personality has turned off many of fans, but nothing angers a loyal following like losing, and the Redskins have done that plenty since the NFLs version of Napoleon took over in Washington. From 1999 to present the team has accomplished just four winning seasons, won only two playoff games and have gone through an absurd eight different head coaches in the process. The team has had a slew of big money, free agent signing that have failed miserably, such as; 4 years/18 million for personality-deficient quarterback Jeff George, 55 million for a way past his prime Deion Sanders and the best one of them all, a 7 year/100 million dollar contract for bloated defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. Much like Griffins current contract, his previous disasters strongly hampered the teams salary cap and prevented them from improving as so much tied in to whatever underachieving name played Snyder had thrown money at trying to bring publicity to his team rather then a winning culture. Which is easily comparable to fellow divisional owner, Dallas Jerry Jones, and not just cause Jones Cowboys team havent done too well in the playoffs of late either, winning only twice in the postseason over the past eighteen years.
The Patriots and their owner Bob Kraft are well on their way to yet another postseason appearance, as the team enters this week with a 7-0 record and hitting on all cylinders. Through the first two months of the year the offense has committed just three turnovers, punted only 23 times and has averaged an easily tops in the NFL 3.05 points per possession. Quarterback Tom Brady continues to wreck havoc on the rest of the league, completing nearly 70% of his passes for 2410 yards and twenty touchdowns to just one interception, which happened on a deflected pass off the hands of his own receiver. While tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to barrel through defenses and wide receiver Julian Edelman remains Bradys favorite WR target, the team has received an even further boost thanks to the surprising emergence of running back Dion Lewis out of the backfield as a receiving threat that has added yet another dimension to the offense with his incredible ability in open space to make defenders miss and has helped quickly fill the gap left by Shane Vereens offseason departure in free agency. The team in Foxboro is not just about the offense though, as the defense has been a beast at applying pressure to the quarterback, led by defensive end Chandler Jones who with 8.5 sacks on the season sits atop the NFL leaderboard with Houston Texan J.J. Watt. Jones is not alone though, as emerging star linebackers Jamie Collins (4.5) and Donta Hightower (3.5) have each played a big role in the Patriots recent defensive surge.
While the Patriots defense will have to deal with a rejuvenated and rested Washington offense, the Redskins havent done so well of late following their bye week, going just 1-6 in the last seven years after their week off. Some prognosticators have theorized that New England may be in for a letdown after winning two big divisional games, but the last six times that Patriots have faced the same scheduling circumstance (back to back divisional games followed by a non-divisional game) the team has responded strongly, winning and covering in all six games including the last four by an average of 25 points.
New England and Washington have played twice in the past ten years, with the Patriots winning 34-27 in 2011 and 52-7 in 2007. This weeks game strongly resembles the one from October 29th, 2007, which was a great day for Boston fans everywhere as not only did the Pats whoop Washington that day but more importantly the Red Sox closed out Colorado to get another sweep for a World Series title that night. In that game in 2007 the Patriots came into it on fire offensively, crushing everything in their site after the overblown Spygate scandal (sound familiar) and much like this weekend were going up against a depleted Redskins secondary, which back than was missing cornerbacks Fred Smoot and Carlos Rodgers. The Patriots didnt hold back that game, twice going for it on fourth down in the 4th quarter, once when up 38-0 and again when up 45-0, which led to one of Belichicks better post game sound bytes when he was quoted as saying What do you want us to do, kick a field goal? While they may not win by almost 50 like they did eight years ago they will certainly cover the line of 14 on Sunday and add to their dominant record of 43-10 against the NFC since 2002.
Mikes Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -14
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