The New England Patriots are the top defense in football, on paper and on the gridiron. And on Sunday, when New England travels to face a Washington Redskins team that doesn’t run the ball effectively and starts a quarterback making his season debut, the Patriots defense could continue to dominate.
Yes, the Redskins finally announced a starting quarterback on Friday after nearly a week of speculation. Washington is opting to go with experience, starting veteran Colt McCoy ahead of promising rookie Dwayne Haskins. McCoy will be making his first appearance of the season coming off a broken leg suffered last December.
In Haskins’ debut last weekend, the rookie didn’t impress throwing three picks against a Giants’ secondary that had previously been shredded this season. And with starter Case Keenum sidelined with an injury, coach Jay Gruden opted to go with McCoy.
The Patriots will counter with AFC Defensive Player of the Week Kyle Van Noy, AFC Defensive Player of the Month Devin McCourty, and the rest of a vaunted Patriots defense that has made opponents look dormant offensively this season. Van Noy helped replace an injured Dont’a Hightower last week in Buffalo, making eight tackles and two sacks. McCourty, meanwhile, tied a franchise record with an interception in four-straight games.
Aside from those two, Jamie Collins has played like an All-Pro through four games while defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Adam Butler have displayed a combination of run-stuffing and pass-rushing abilities.
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
October 6, 2019 at 1 p.m.
FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: New England (-15 at -115)
Over/Under: 41.5 (-110 either side)
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The biggest news for Washington this week, aside from their quarterbacking situation, is the status of breakout receiver Terry McLaurin. Dealing with a hamstring injury, McLaurin missed last weekend’s game against the Giants and now could be a game-time decision for this Sunday.
If he plays, he may wreak havoc for the New England secondary. But if he’s out, Washington may have a problem moving the ball altogether. Both primary tight ends, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, look doubtful for Sunday leaving Jeremy Sprinkle and Jerome Cunningham as the lone options.
On defense, Washington may be best served to stop the rush with a fully healthy defensive line. Montez Sweat has been strong off the edge this season for the Redskins.
New England Patriots
There’s a couple of question marks for the Patriots on Sunday.
First, can the New England offensive line hold serve against an aggressive Redskins defensive front? Marshall Newhouse has shown he can more than hold his own at left tackle while Ted Karras has improved in his run blocking and shotgun snaps to get Brady an extra tick with the ball. Couple that with the return off all three tight ends and superb play by full back Jakob Johnson and New England could be all set.
Second, can the Patriots get their running game off the ground. Sony Michel finally found room to run last week but has been largely underwhelming through a quarter of the season. All of New England’s backs have struggled for positive yards but it appears with tight ends active and in the blocking scheme, those issues could correct themselves.
The Patriots aren’t one to overlook any opponent, regardless of the disparity in talent. While New England has been hitting the under lately thanks to some incredible defense, it might be close to over this week with a standout performance by the offense
Pick: Take New England with the spread and take the over. Patriots win 37-6 and that factors in a field goal and missed PAT from new kicker Mike Nugent.