Washington Redskins (4-5 SU, 3-6 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (7-2 SU, 7-2 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WAS +7.5/NO -7.5
Over/Under Total: 51
In week 11 action out of the NFC, the Washington Redskins come to the Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Saints are riding high on the crest of 7 straight wins. For bettors, theyve been just as good, covering seven straight spreads. Its not just that theyre winning, but theyve been dominant in doing soquite a turnaround from how they looked to open the season. The Redskins, meanwhile, are 4-5 after losing to the Vikings last week, 38-30, at home. Can they get it together and score the big win this week against a Saints team that torched Buffalo on the road Sunday, 47-10?
The Redskins started the season 3-2, but only two wins in their last six games has left them in a bad spot heading into this part of the season. Going on the road to take on the hottest team in the league isnt an ideal spot to get on the right track. Injuries have hurt the defense, which hasnt really been able to keep pace. While the offense can be prolific on occasion, they also lack a clear identity or any real consistency. They put up some points against the Vikings, but the defense was not up-to-snuff. Getting all the different moving parts on this team to congeal has been a struggle for the 2017 Redskins.
The Redskins offense has a lot of talent, but it hasnt been applied evenly throughout the season. It also seems to hurt that they have yet to develop any really dependable contributors, other than maybe TE Vernon Davis. Injuries havent helped, but we see a slew of different receivers getting involved, but no one has really stepped up to become the clear go-to guy. In other words, their pass-attack can be vital on occasion, but it has a certain formlessness that hasnt helped the consistency on this side of the ball. Kirk Cousins was decent against the Vikings and had 325 yards through the air. Jamison Crowder and Davis had good games. Somebody named Maurice Harris caught a touchdown. Terrelle Pryor has disappeared and they struggle to get much going on the ground, other than spot-contributions from Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine.
The Redskins defense is on some weeks and not in others. In a must-win game at home against the Vikings, they didnt really play well. The secondary yielded a career-game to Minnesota backup Case Keenum. Secondary members like Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, and DJ Swearinger, who did have two picks on the day, need to come up with better answers this week. The thing is that weve seen this D play well at times this season, but they can show up with a wide range of form from week to week. On the road against this Saints offense doesnt seem to be a likely spot for them to get things on the right track. Then again, trying to make an abundance of sense with this team has been a futile endeavor.
After an 0-2 start where it looked like another bad season was in store for the Saints, they turned things around in jarring fashion. Not only did they get things on the right track, they got on a huge roll where their average margin of victory over their last 7 games has been 20 points. To go into Buffalo, a place they seldom ever see, and post a 47-10 mauling is indicative of what theyve been able to summon over the course of the last few months. We see a versatile offense that can get you in a number of different ways, along with a defense that has actually become quite stout in allowing less than 50 combined points in their last four wins. From a pure results-standpoint, the Saints look to be one of the top contenders in the whole league.
When thinking back a number of years ago when the Saints were doing really well and became champions, we remember an offense that wasnt just vital aerially, but also applied a wicked ground-game. Theyre getting that now, with Drew Brees still commandeering a lively aerial game, while the run-game has gotten on the right track with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. On Sunday against the Bills, Ingram ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns, as Kamara added a TD on 106 yards. Kamara is also a big threat aerially, as is Ingram. They also got a good showing on the ground from Trey Edmunds and there arent many teams running the ball better than the Saints right now. Through the air, Brees connected well with Michael Thomas who was big with 117 yards. There are a lot of weapons on this side of the ball. Again, Buffalo isnt an easy place to win, even against the sliding Bills, but to put up a 47-10 score suggests a team that has really found the right formula.
The New Orleans defense has also followed suit along with a rising offense. After two games, one would have been hard-pressed to predict they would ever be a stout unit this season. With fewer than 50 points allowed in their last 4 games, they are playing very well, with a lot of big plays along the way. Against Buffalo, they held Tyron Taylor to an anemic day through the air, while containing their top weapon in LeSean McCoy, giving up just 49 yards on the ground. The Bills were held to under 200 yards of offense on the day and converted two third downs. We see guys like Marcus Williams, Vonn Bell, Marshon Lattimore, and Ken Crawley playing a lot better in the back and pass-defense no longer appears to be a team-drawback.
Obviously, not all teams respond in the affirmative when the urgency is high. The Redskins might be facing a must-win spot of sorts, but urgency doesnt remove the massive matchup issues they face this week. Still, I expect the Redskins offense to have some success this week. How well their defense plays will determine if they can keep this one respectable or if the Saints are poised to again mow down another opponent. Trying to time a down-week for the Saints has been and could continue to be a costly game to play, but I see the Redskins having a good game and covering the spread this week.
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