Green Bay Packers (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (5-3-1 SU, 6-3 ATS)
Week 11 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, November 20, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: GB +3/WAS -3
Over/Under Total: 50
On Sunday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers come into FedEx Field to face the Washington Redskins in a key NFC matchup. Washington scored a big 26-20 home win over the Vikings on Sunday. After an 0-2 start, they have lost just once in their last seven games and are looking more like the division-winning team they were last season than the squad we saw earlier in the season. The Packers, meanwhile, look to be in as bad of trouble as they've been in years after losing their third game in a row on Sunday with a 47-25 hammering at Tennessee. If Green Bay wants to turn things around, this week would be a great time, as they are in danger of circling the drain.
It can take a long time before we truly acknowledge a team is no longer the force of old. It's not just in football, as bettors can be guilty of this is all sports. In their last 19 games dating back to last season, the Packers are 8-11. They started the season at a respectable 3-1 and looked to be getting things on the right track. But we're seeing a lot of troubling signs. It seemed just as the general public began embracing the idea that Aaron Rodgers was the best QB in the league, his form has dropped precipitously. He's not moving particularly well, nor is he making the throws we've become accustomed to seeing in recent seasons. It's something you need to see in person, as it might not turn up in the stats. But he doesn't seem like the same guy. It's not all his fault, as it seldom is. His line is sometimes victimized by opposing defensive fronts. Injuries have robbed him of a substantive run-game. And despite Rodgers' arm and receiving talent like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and the improving Davante Adams, they are a middling aerial offense at the end of the day. There seems to be a chasm between their potential and the actual materializing of offensive production.
This is a tough time of the season for the Packers, as they are now headlong into a draining away sequence. After getting smacked around by the Titans on the road, they now face 2 more consecutive road games. This is a part of the season that threatens to derail the entire 2016 Green Bay effort. They can get back to .500 this week, but another loss would nudge them right to the precipice of a position in which they are unaccustomed—out of the postseason.
After giving up 111 combined points in their last three games, the defense looks to be a major hurdle to victory at this point for the Packers. Last season, the Packers' defense was a lone shining point on the team as they appeared to make measurable progress. It looks like that momentum has been squandered to a large extent. The front has been pretty good in terms of stuffing the run and getting after the quarterback. Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers are still a handful. But the pass-defense has taken a step back. Most troubling is the lack of clutch play we're seeing in critical spots, like on 3rd downs or in the red zone. They're not terrible perhaps, but let's just say they're not helping much either.
The Redskins got off to a good start against the Vikings on Sunday, before Minnesota stormed back and threatened to take control of the game. After taking a 14-0 second quarter lead, Minnesota scored 20 straight points to take a lead into halftime. Four Dustin Hopkins field goal and keeping the Vikings off the board for the second half enabled the Redskins to get the win. Kirk Cousins, who struggled massively earlier in the season, has been having some good games lately. He threw two TDs on 262 yards passing on Sunday. And with another good showing by running back Robert Kelley, they are seeing their offense add another dimension to their pass-happy approach.
Despite the ragged beginning, Cousins is now nearing 3000 yards and has completed over 66% of his throws on the season, making good use of a stocked aerial crew. Between Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Vernon Davis, there are a lot of options which Cousins can exploit. And again, the run was supposed to be mere window dressing this season after losing Alfred Morris and with injuries hitting hard. Tulane rookie Kelley has been looking good the past few weeks, which has given the Redskins a big boost. In terms of yardage, the Redskins are the 4th ranked offense in the league.
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The Redskins' defense is by no means a top unit. To say they're a middling bunch would probably be a fair statement. Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan have applied a steady pass-rush this season and this group can be pretty clutch when the situation arises. In terms of yardage, they're ranked 20th in the league, while being 17th in points allowed. But the stats fail to capture the spirit of this group, as they play in accordance with what the offense is doing. And in the past few months, they've done enough to let the offense do its thing.
Some may wonder how the Redskins lost just once in the past two months with a so-so defense and an offense that is ranked 16th in scoring. These are the teams that can give bettors the most trouble. They don't look all that threatening on paper. But again, that fails to capture the essence of the Redskins, a gutty team that just has a knack of being a thorn in an opponent's side. While we focus on a lot of different numbers, we can overlook a team that just has a tendency to be in games with an ability to pull it out late, solidified by veteran leadership and solid coaching. And those teams usually look even better against teams like the Packers that don't get the most of what they have and where the coaching seems off the mark. While keeping in mind the Packers' potential to turn it around, the Redskins look like a solid choice this week, as the point spread seems to reflect a different reality of what we're seeing take place.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Washington Redskins minus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Green Bay vs. Washington game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!