Washington Redskins (6-4-1 SU, 8-3 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1 SU, 3-8 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: WAS +2.5/ARI -2.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Washington Redskins face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in Glendale. This week 13 matchup features two teams really in the need of a win. For the Cardinals, it's almost a wrap. But for Washington, they really need to rebound from a Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys. They had lost only once in 8 games before facing Dallas. They scored 6 points in the first three quarters, before making a run at the game late before losing, 31-26. With the NFC East nearly out of reach, they need to make a postseason run starting now. The Cardinals, supposed to do big things this season, fell to 4-6-1 on Sunday with a 38-19 loss to Atlanta. They get back home this week against Washington and look to get on the winning track before it's too late, if it isn't already.
The Redskins got it cooking late in the game against Dallas, but eventually came up short for the season sweep for Dallas against their division rivals. Washington is still in a good spot considering how poorly they looked to open the season. Their offense is a dynamic group, led by Kirk Cousins, who has been in fine form lately. Unfortunately, they couldn't really convert the production into points against Dallas on Thanksgiving, with 26 points scoring on over 500 yards of total offense.
Cousins notched his third 400+-yard game against Dallas with 449 yards on 41-for-53 passing with 3 scores and no picks. He has thrown 1 interception in the last five games and has become increasingly on-point as of late. Alas, with only 6 points in the first three quarters, they had too much ground to make up, as the Dallas offense kept scoring. And they weren't able to mount a running game, though Robert Kelley has been offering signs of promise in recent weeks. The line is sometimes inconsistent in opening up holes for the run, though they've generally done a fine job in protecting Cousins.
The aerial attack for the Redskins has been pretty vital in recent weeks. Against Dallas, DeSean Jackson was excellent on 118 yards and a TD. TE Jordan Reed caught two touchdowns on 95 yards passing. Jamison Crowder has another good day, with Vernon Davis and Pierre Garcon also adding some big plays. They may be a bit one-dimensional with their pass-heavy offensive approach. But with the run-game showing life and the diverse nature of their aerial game, this stands out as a dangerous offense. They could be better in turning production into actual points, but make no mistake, they can put up points in a hurry.
The Redskins defense can be stingy on occasion, though the better offenses they play usually put up some points. They're not particularly good against the run, though they held Ezekiel Elliott to under 100 yards on Thursday. They've applied a nice pass-rush this season, led by Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. They have had issues in the secondary, though it's been coming around and they held Dak Prescott to a season-low in yardage on Thanksgiving. Josh Norman has become more of a factor in recent weeks, with help from the rest of the group. They're not great, but with this offense, they don't have to be. They just need to be a tick better than they were against Dallas.
Arizona came up snake-eyes in Atlanta, a tough place to play. They've clearly been one of the more disappointing teams in the league this season. Their offense has seen their form fall off precipitously, looking like a shadow of what they were last season and even before that. Early in the second quarter, they were leading 10-7. But the Falcons started stringing together drives and soon, Arizona found themselves unable to keep up.
The Arizona offense was unable to sustain many drives on Sunday. Carson Palmer was 25-for-45 with 289 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. But the luster is off the veteran QB this season, as he has been far off his vintage form. On Sunday, David Johnson ran for 58 yards and had 103 yards receiving. He's been a lone bright spot in the offense this season, as Arizona looks to have found their back of the future. Still, his good performances don't always lead to better results for the team. The tight end combo of Jermaine Gresham and Darren Fells has fallen flat. Larry Fitzgerald has been pretty good, with Michael Floyd injured much of the season. John Brown has disappeared from this offense lately. And we're just not seeing the same returns from this bunch this season.
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The Cardinals defense has been the lone bright spot of the team, though they weren't very useful on Sunday. They weren't very effective against the pass, as they usually are, while Atlanta made some progress on the ground, as well. They entered last week the top ranked defense in the league in terms of yardage. It just hasn't resulted in much in the way of wins. With 68 points allowed in the last two games, they're not looking like a top-rated defense in any shape or form. But if the secondary can get their bearings and keep Cousins limited, they could be in the game with a shot.
The Redskins can be hard to get a read on—explosive some weeks and more tepid in others. And it's often difficult to get a read on which version you'll see on a given week. They are in a critical spot where they can really use a win and this is a team that has responded in the affirmative in similar spots in the past two seasons. Arizona is also in dire straits, but they were last week and it didn't seem to help as they were smoked by the Falcons. Something seems wrong in 'Zona and I'm taking a stance on the 'Skins.
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