Washington Redskins vs. Tennessee Titans Pick
Washington Redskins (7-7 SU, 8-6 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (8-6 SU, 8-6 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 22, 4:30 PM EST
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tn.
By Keith Allen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wash + 10 / Ten -10 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Over/Under Total: 37
Music City is the site for the first game on NFL week 16’s Saturday slate. The Washington Redskins will visit the Tennessee Titans in a game with the sportsbooks making the Titans 10 point favorites. Both teams still have playoff hopes but the play is to take the 10 points and play the Redskins. Line varies but Intertops currently has -10 -105. Here are 3 reasons to bet Washington.
Redskins Will Keep the Game Close
Washington started the season with a 6-3 record and were on top of the NFC East after week 10. Their season took a nasty turn in week 11 when Alex Smith’s leg broke, then an even nastier turn in week 13 when back-up Colt McCoy suffered the same fate. McCoy was a serviceable QB and not a huge downgrade from Smith but when McCoy went down, Mark Sanchez was left to man the QB position for Jay Gruden’s squad. That was didn’t go well. Sanchez was overmatched when he took over against the Eagles, and then embarrassed himself and the Redskins in week 14, losing to the hapless Giants by 24 points. Josh Johnson was signed off the street to back up Sanchez, and took over as the starter last week in Jacksonville and led the Skins to a 16-13 victory as 7 point underdogs.
Johnson is no more than a journeyman quarterback that was not on a roster just a few weeks ago for a reason, but he is a step up from Sanchez and enough to instill some passion in the rest of the team. He has a skill set that can be a challenge for defenses to prepare for, which was proven by putting up 16 points against a Jaguar defense in their building. Washington’s defense is 13th in the league in points allowed and rank 18th in yards per play and rushing yards allowed. Although it was a Cody Kessler led Jaguar squad, the Skins held them to only 10 first downs. With a remote chance at a playoff berth and an “us against the world” mentality, I expect Washington’s defense to limit the Titans and keep the game close.
Tennessee is due for a letdown
The Titans have also had a roller coaster season. They were 5-4 after week 10 and in good shape to compete for the playoffs and possibly even the AFC South title. Then back to back division losses to the Colts and Texans put the team’s playoff hopes on ice. But Mike Vrabel’s squad has bounced back to win 3 straight and is now one of 3 teams that sit at 8-6 and are fighting for the second wild card spot. If the Titans can take care of their own business and win their final 2 games, they only need either the Ravens or Steelers to lose 1 game to make it into the tournament.
But success has not treated the Titans well. They had a three game winning streak going into a week 5 game at lowly Buffalo where they were 6 point road favorites and could only score 12 points on the way to losing the game outright. Weeks 9 and 10 saw the Titans handily beat both the Cowboys and Patriots by a combined 38 points prior to a visit to Indy where the Colts throttled Tennessee 34-10. The running game has come to life with Derrick Henry rushing for over 400 yards in the last 2 games against Jacksonville and the Giants. Washington has had issues recently stopping the run, but did hold the Jaguar running backs to 98 yards last week – although Kessler tacked on 68 scrambling yards. Henry had under 500 total rushing yards in his first 12 games this year, so look for the Skins to put together a game plan that will shut down Henry and force Marcus Mariota to find other ways to put points on the board. The Titans have scored 20 or less points in 8 of their 14 games, so it would surprise no one if they end this game in the teens, which makes it hard to cover a 10 point spread.
10 Points is Too Much for the Titans to Lay
This Titan team is in a bad spot to be laying 10 points. The only other time this year they have been favored by that big of a number was against the Jets in week 13 when they were 10½ point home favorites. Tennessee escaped that one with a 4 point win, not enough to cover the number. With the game total being only 37, 10 points represents 27% of the total. Washington is 5th in the league at creating turnovers, so if they get a defensive touchdown it will make the Titans winning by double digits even more unlikely.
Outside of games that Mark Sanchez has appeared in (and a blowout at New Orleans in week 5), Washington has been competitive in every this game. Last week the Skins were getting 7½ points from the Jags which was their biggest spread of the year and they rallied to win the game outright. Tennessee has a week 17 date in Indy with the Colts that could be “win and you’re in the playoffs” game. It’s easy to see Tennessee not being 100% dialed in against Washington as double digit home favorites, and having to claw for a win in the 4th quarter.
Take the 10 Points and Play the Dog
The play in Music City on Saturday is to take the 10 points and the Skins. Washington will keep this game close and cover the number.