Falcons v Redskins: A not-so irresistible force meets a fairly immovable object

Falcons v Redskins: A not-so irresistible force meets a fairly immovable object

Two teams with short winning streaks meet in the 2018 NFL campaign’s ninth week. The Atlanta Falcons [3-4] visit FedEx Field in the nation’s capital to take on the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins [5-2]. The pressure is on the Falcons to not allow their season to slip away and the ‘Skins to consolidate their position and prove they’re a cut above the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Want to be a cut above the rest?
CharliesSports’ NFL Picks can keep you flying high!

Subscribe now and benefit through the Super Bowl in Atlanta

Washington head coach Jay Gruden resembles the fella on Antique Roadshow who discovers he’s picked up a long-lost Vincent van Gogh masterpiece at the flea market. Both quarterback Alex Smith and tailback Adrian Peterson are castoffs that other coaches no longer wanted. Andy Reid let the 34-year-old Smith go for a song to hand his offence over to young gun Patrick Mahomes. Smith has responded with a steadfast 1561 yards passing, eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. Peterson, 33, played for both New Orleans and Arizona last season. In ten games combined, he rushed for 529 yards and two TDs. He already has 587 and four this term.

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn, two years removed from an epic Super Bowl collapse is retooling on the fly. Tevin Coleman is now the main ball carrier and Steve Sarkisian is calling the plays in his second year, from the sideline no less. Matt Ryan can still sling it. The Boston College product, now in his 11th season with the Falcons, has put up 2,335 yards passing with 15 TDs and two INTs.

Quinn’s woes stem mainly from the defence, specifically the secondary. Of the last 10 offensive TDs scored against the Dirty Birds, eight were passes. It’s not that the defensive backs are being stretched, either. Seven came from inside the red zone. They just can’t cover anyone.

Atlanta is relatively healthy. RB Devonta Freeman remains on the IR with a groin problem. Kicker Matt Bryant is questionable for the game with a hamstring problem. Emergency replacement Giorgio Tavecchio was perfect against Philadelphia last week, with two extra points and three field goals, one for 56 yards.

Washington isn’t so lucky. Three starters and as many second-stringers are listed as questionable for the game. Wideout Jamison Crowder, left tackle Trent Williams and right cornerback Quinton Dunbar comprise the first group, RB Chris Thompson, left corner Adonis Alexander and weakside linebacker Ryan Anderson the other.

The LINE favours the Redskins by 1.5 points in this one. The TOTAL is 47.5. Something has to give there. Sarkisian’s offence racked up 30 points or more in four of their last six but went nine points UNDER against another NFC East opponent, the New York Giants, last week. Washington hasn’t conceded 20 points in their last three. They did surrender 43 to New Orleans before the streak began.

Atlanta is OVER in their last four after failing to cover but they’re UNDER in six of their last seven following a STRAIGHT UP win. The ‘Skins are UNDER in their last four after surrendering more than 250 yards in the air and their last five against losing teams. They’re also 5-0 AGAINST THE SPREAD vs teams with a losing road record, but that’s countered by the road team in this series sitting 5-1 ATS entering this tilt.

There’s a strong case for the UNDER in this one. Washington’s a top defence at home and Atlanta stalled in their last outing, rescued by a journeyman placekicker. On the other hand, the teams have alternated between OVER and UNDER in the last six and it’s OVER’s turn.

In the end, I think it’s simple. Atlanta can score and still lose. Washington doesn’t score much but consistently wins. Take the Redskins and give the points.

Free Pick: WASHINGTON -1.5
2018-19 NFL ATS Betting Predictions
Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games.
Enter the internet’s best tournaments.
Bet Here

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Advertisements
Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

The NFL waits for no one. That’s why, to my thinking, the Kansas City Chiefs’ visit to the cozy StubHub Centre to take on division rival San Diego [still doing it] Los Angeles Chargers is the must-see game in the 2018 season’s opening week.

CharliesSports’ Football Picks know where you’re coming from.
You want to win!
Subscribe now and benefit through Super Bowl LIII in February 2019.

The Chiefs won the AFC West and went to the playoffs in 2017. They lost a nailbiter to the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard. Fair or not, the defeat was the final nail in quarterback Alex Smith’s Arrowhead career coffin. The ex-49er completed 29/33 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans, but his immobility hurt the team. He was sacked four times. His strength is the short-passing game, too. Kansas City couldn’t stretch the field in the second half.

On the other side of the ball, Marcus Mariota’s agility paid dividends. Rolling to his left, the Titan’s third-year signal-caller caught his own deflected pass then ran it in for a morale-crushing score. It’s little wonder the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins and shoved all their chips in on sophomore QB Pat Mahomes’ bionic arm.

The Chargers finished second in the division but their 9-7 record didn’t rate a playoff berth. It’s a new season, however. Observers are lavishing crazy love on the Bolts in the early doors. CBS Sports rates Anthony Lynn’s squad far better than the Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Charlie Red, the man whose name graces the masthead at the top of this page, expects the Chargers “to do big things.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers remains the man behind center. After missing out by three measly yards in 2016, Mel Gordon’s now officially a thousand-yard rusher after racking up 1,105 and eight TDs in 2017. He also contributed 476 receiving yards with another four scores for good measure. Gordon’s presence relieves pressure for the veteran QB who’s thrown for at least 4,000 yards in every season [excepting 2012] since 2008. His 26 touchdowns in the off-year were his worst over the same stretch, as well. When the Chargers’ ground game lags, though, the NC State alum’s interception rate goes through the roof.

Rivers must be licking his chops at the news that Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry’s doubtful with a heel injury for this game. Brandon Mebane and Isaac Rochel on the left side of the Chargers D-line have to be looking forward to testing Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvarney-Tardif, fresh from concussion protocol. Meanwhile, the Chiefs can exploit defensive end Joey Bosa’s absence.

Andy Reid’s a far more experienced coach than Anthony Lynn, which must count for something. Still, the younger man can rely on veteran coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley, both former head coaches in the league. Reid has a seasoned defensive coordinator in Bob Sutton but is taking a gamble on Eric Bieniemy. The former University of Colorado star brings extensive experience as a running backs coach both with the Chiefs and Buffaloes, but just two seasons directing the entire offense in Boulder. A new quarterback and an untested coordinator don’t bode well for KC to start the campaign. Bieniemy at least has a 1,300-yd Pro Bowl rusher to take some pressure off the passing game.

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can't stop your Pro Bowl running back?

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can’t stop your Pro Bowl running back?

In 2017, the new Angelinos weren’t able to exploit their compact surroundings. After a season to acclimate and an off-season to improve, maybe they can surprise opponents with an outsized game. They’ll be getting after the Chiefs today, that much is certain. But Kansas City’s out to prove they don’t deserve to be written off so easily.

Enjoy.

 2018-19 Football Betting Predictions
Free Pick.
Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games.
Enter the internet’s best tournaments.
Bet Here

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Would you rather have Kirk Cousins or Jack Reacher under center?

Would you rather have Kirk Cousins or Jack Reacher under center?

So, because free is good and so is the view, we’re sitting in the seventh floor Creation Station at the Main Library. Our workspace could be a booth at a posh restaurant: high-backed soft chairs, a large table between us with room for two laptops, two cellies, our beverages of choice and whatever else we need. There’s floor-to-ceiling windows with a northern view from downtown. It’s not a big downtown but luxury apartments are springing up like zombies in Fallout when you’re down to your last few hit points.  Like I said, it’s a good view.

Winning 2018 NFL Picks

The one difference between the Creation Station and a Longhorns, other than having to bring your own food and drink, is that the soft, comfy chairs come with outlets and USB ports. You can work after you tire of looking at all the people and traffic scurrying around seven stories below, or of waiting for another helicopter to land on the helipad atop the library’s parking garage. Most of the choppers are picking up or dropping off cash for the various banks with branches nearby. I’m just thinking there’s a Lee Child novel waiting to be written here when Charlie Red speaks up.

“What do you think about Minnesota?”

“Huh?”

“The Vikings. Do you think they’ll be any good?”

I shrug, playing for time to transition from Jack Reacher to Kirk Cousins. Safe to say, it requires taking a few steps down.

“They got Kirk Cousins now, you know.”

“Yup.”

“He’s no Teddy Bridgewater.”

“No. Odd how he’s replacing a second talented quarterback with a f***-ed up knee, though. Who’d have thought that was a thing?”

Charlie laughs. “Yeah, but I just don’t think he can do it. He doesn’t have the talent.”

Teddy Bridgewater opted to go to the New York Jets after the Minnesota Vikings signed Kirk Cousins.

“Well, there’s two things. One, everybody else jumped ship. Well, not Bridgewater. He left after Cousins arrived. Probably thought he had a better chance of taking Josh McCown’s job with the Jets.  Sam Bradford signed with Arizona as soon as he could. Case Keenum was on his way to Denver at the same time. Second, Cousins is that reliable guy everyone except the Redskins likes. The safe bet. He’ll underthrow the deep ball every time, but he’ll make the right read and accurate throws underneath. Get rid of the ball when nothing’s on, too.”

“That’s what I’m talking about. Although the Vikings could go all the way if that kid Dalvin Cook can stay out of trouble.”

“You think he’s the next Ezekiel Elliott?”

“What I’m sayin’. They just can’t expect Cousins to do it on his own.”

“Well, an elite running back can cover up for a secondhand quarterback. So can a great defense. Mike Zimmer’s got that in Minnesota.”

“He does.”

“Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl with Baltimore.”

“He sure enough did.”

“Trent effin’ Dilfer.”

“I’m sayin’.”

“Mm-hm.”

“So, whaddya think? Will Minnesota go all the way?”

“Man, I don’t know. I’m trying to write the great American novel.”

The Best NFL Handicappers Predictions

Free Picks. Side and Total. Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best Tournaments on the World Wide Web. Bet Here.

Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.