Thursday night football and we will see the New England Patriots take on the Washington Redskins in preseason action from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The game has a start time of 7:30 pm and will be televised locally. Vegas Odds have the Redskins listed as 1 point favorites, while the total sits at 38.
Analysis: The New England Patriots went 12-4 a year ago and made it to the AFC title game for the 3rd year in a row, before bowing out to the Denver Broncos, 26-16 in Denver. This is an offense that is used to being in the top 5 in most categories, but that was not the case last year as injuries really took their toll on this team. Brady is back and he now has another year with a very nice set of WR’s that include Julian Edleman and Danny Amendola, plus newly acquired Brandon Lafell. Having a healthy Gronkowski will help as well, especially in the Redzone. The running game surprised last year with Ridley and Vereen and should be just as solid this year. Defensively the Patriots played a bend but don’t break style as they allowed just 21.1 ppg, to rank 10th in the league, while allowing 373.1 ypg, which was 26th in the league. Getting back a healthy Vince Wolfork should help and while they did lose Aqib Talib, they did pick up Darrell Revis shortly after. They did address their need for a DT in the draft by taking Domonique Easley (Florida) with their first pick, but they still have pressing needs at LB and even with Revis the defensive backfield isn’t all that great.
The Washington Redskins suffered through a miserable 3-13 campaign last year, but a new coach and the signing of DeSean Jackson, gives them some hope for this year. Robert Griffin did not play all that well and may have come back sooner then his should have from his playoff injury the year before. Robert didn’t have a big play weapon to go to. This year he does with the signing of DeSean Jackson from Philadelphia, plus Jay Gruden is more of a pass oriented coach and if the skins can stretch the field then that leaves the underneath exposed, where Griffin can take advantage of with his legs. Jackson and Pierre Garcon should form a deadly downfield duo. The running game was very good last year and Alfred Morris should have another solid year. the biggest sore spot of the Skins offense last year was the OL, but they have upgraded that with the signing of Kory Lichtensteiger and the drafting of OT Morgan Moses and OG Spencer long with their 2nd and 3rd round picks in the draft. This defense was pretty much a mess last year and the Skins spent allot of time in the off-season trying to upgrade it. DC Jim Haslett is back to run his 3-4 defense and he got some new pieces to work with in the signing of DB’s Tracy Porter and Ryan Clark, plus DT Jason Hatcher. They should all mesh nicely with returning players like Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley and DeAngelo Hall. The Skins also used their first pick in the draft to take LB Trent Murphy from Stanford, plus they added depth to their secondary with 4th round pick DB Bashaud Breeland from Clemson.
Pick: Let's look to the Over in this one. The Patriots are a team that really looks to win their opening week game and for them that is usually done with offense. In their last 5 Week 1 preseason games, there has been an average of 43.6 ppg being scored. Even if Brady doesn't play all that much, Ryan Mallet and Jimmy Garrapolo will be given a shot at throwing the ball plenty. Even though it looks as if DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon will be out for this one I still expect the Skins to throw plenty as a well, especially since Jay Gruden really wants to open the offense up. I also like the backups of Kirk Cousins and Colt MC Coy for the Skins. Both teams gave up allot of yards last year and did address their needs on defense, but with a bunch of new parts on both defenses it will take some time for them to gel, which helps the offenses here. Also helping the offenses will be the new rules that have been designed to limit the defenses. Add it all up and we should see at least 40 points in this game.
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