Don’t look now but the Washington Redskins sit comfortably atop the NFC East after Sunday’s 20-13 victory over the New York Giants. The numbers pointed to Washington’s pass rush as a lot for the Giants offensive line to handle and that scenario played out precisely: Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Daron Payne were all credited with at least one sack on Eli Manning and the defense added 18 other hits and hurries during the game, harassing Manning on 20 of his 54 drop backs.
Offensively, Adrian Peterson continues to prove the naysayers wrong, carrying the ball 24 times for 149 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown, in the victory against the Giants.
Washington probably isn’t done yet: the Redskins are set up to get a few more wins before facing the Houston Texans in Week 11, and that includes this week’s clash with the Atlanta Falcons.
Prime pick success rate: 9-11-1
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins (-1.5)
Pick: Washington Redskins -1.5
According to Football Outsiders, Atlanta has the second-worst defense this season after adjusting its performance for strength of schedule, and that includes a No. 28 ranking against the pass and No. 31 ranking against the run. The game charters at Pro Football Focus list the Falcons defense at No. 27 overall, with poor marks for run defense (No. 26), pass rushing (No. 26) and pass coverage (No. 24).
Looked at another way, Atlanta is allowing 12 more points per game than expected after taking into account the down, distance and field position of each defensive play, per TruMedia. The Oakland Raiders are the next worst team with eight points allowed more per game than expected.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-2)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams +2
The Rams have the league’s second-best pass rushing unit and the third-best pass coverage in 2018 per Pro Football Focus. The highest-rated interior lineman this year, Aaron Donald, is a one-man wrecking crew, producing 54 total sacks, hits and hurries in eight games. Ndamukong Suh has chipped in 29 total pressures and, to make the defensive front better, the Rams acquired defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. from the Jacksonville Jaguars at the trade deadline. Fowler had eight tackles and two sacks in seven games with the Jaguars this season.
The Saints’ pass blocking is good, but even they have their limits. Plus, when quarterback Drew Brees is under pressure this season his passer rating drops from a league-high 124.7 to 79.3. Last year saw a similar drop for Brees, from 113.2 in a clean pocket to 63.6 when facing a pass rush.
The two games above represent my best plays of the week because my analysis shows the point spreads are divergent from what I expect to happen once the teams take the field. One reason the house wins so often is because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. This makes trying to pick every single NFL game something of a fool’s errand. The odds should be in my favor in the games above, which is why I think they’re worth a bet. Below you’ll find our chart predicting the betting edge for every game.
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