The Teaser: Pair Washington and New Orleans
Game 1: Washington vs. Kansas City
The Initial Line:
Washington +7 away vs. Kansas City
Add 7.5 points to Washington’s line
The Final Line:
Washington was able to handle Oakland fairly easily on Sunday Night Football, securing the home victory 27-10. Kirk Cousins is showing flashes of why he can be considered an elite QB, going 25-30 for 365 yds and 3 TDs. Kansas City kept their hot start going with a road victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-10. Rookie RB Kareem Hunt has continued to be an offensive force for KC, as he went off with 17 carries for 172 yds and a TD while Tyreek Hill reeled in 5 catches for 77 yds and a TD.
One of the biggest stories from Washington’s win on Sunday Night Football wasn’t even its quarterback but its defense. They held a potent Oakland offense to only 128 total yards with 1 recovered fumble and 2 INTs. They’ve now had at least 1 INT in every game this season, and are 4th in the NFL in total takeaways. One big concern for Kansas City is the amount of sacks they’ve allowed to this point. They’ve allowed the 3rd most sacks in the NFL with 12 thus far, and that will put more pressure on Alex Smith as Washington has allowed the 2nd fewest rushing yards/game (62.3). Kansas City’s defense also only ranks 24th in pass yards allowed/game, which may again open the door for Cousins to shine. Arrowhead Stadium in primetime would still be a tough place to win at, but I see Washington being able to hang with this KC squad as they have the talent on both sides of the ball. Grabbing Washington to win with a 2 TD cushion seems like a lock, so take the extra points here to be safe.
Game 2: New Orleans vs. Miami
The Initial Line:
New Orleans -3 away vs. Miami
Add 7.5 points to New Orleans’s line
The Final Line:
New Orleans +4.5
New Orleans was finally able to obtain its first victory of 2017, as they went on the road to take down divisional rival Carolina 34-13. Drew Brees continues to help New Orleans’ offense move the ball effectively, going 22-29 for 220 yds and 3 TDs. Miami completely laid a dud against a division rival who was predicted to go winless this year, losing to the Jets on the road 20-6. Miami’s offense was only able to muster 225 total yards and through 2 INTs (Cutler and Haack had 1 each), and the run game was completely shut down with only 30 total yards.
For as bad a reputation New Orleans’ defense has, they actually played a well-rounded game in week 3 against Carolina. They were able to generate 4 sacks and 3 INTs while allowing under 300 yards of total offense, and that kind of performance will give them a chance at victory every week with Brees under center. Their offense has also been able to generate the 6th most yards in the NFL through week 3. Jay Cutler has had one less week to perform given the postponement of their week 1 game from Hurricane Irma, but he currently sits 23rd of out 32 QBs for passer rating while Brees ranks 4th. They’ve also been without LB Timmons on defense due to the suspension by coach Adam Gase, and there’s currently no telling if he’ll play next week or not. Overall I think that New Orleans can force Cutler into some mistakes and I’m not sure the Miami defense can slow Brees down. I’m predicting that New Orleans wins the game outright, but just to be sure take some extra insurance points.