Washington Redskins - 3-10
Atlanta Falcons - 3-10
Redskins vs. Falcons. The game features two 3-10 teams who share more than their records in common. They both won their divisions last season and appeared to be capable of repeating those feats at the start of this season. But even though the teams share the same record, it seems they have different views of the present and outlooks for next season.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith is only experiencing his first losing season in his six as head coach of the Falcons. Where in contrast the Redskins Mike Shanahan is having his third losing season out of four. Mike Smith is all but certain to return next season, where it appears Mike Shanahan has come to the end of the line with the Skins.
And as turbulent as this season has been for the Falcons, it’s been nothing compared to the drama that’s ensued with the Redskins. In one of the most bizarre scenarios the NFL has ever seen, a high stakes game of who blinks first is transpiring between Shanahan and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. With it appearing that Shanahan is trying to get fired.
As reports of Shanahan wanting to quit over Snyder’s relationship with QB Robert Griffin III emerged, Shanahan was suspected of leaking those reports himself. Then floating the idea of benching starting QB RGIII was seen as almost a dare to Snyder to fire him. But if Snyder did want to fire Shanahan, he didn’t act on it, and so Griffin was benched.
For what Shanahan described as safety reasons, and yet some believe that wasn’t the true reason. So backup Kirk Cousins will start against the Falcons, who have chosen not to shut down their franchise QB Matt Ryan, even though he’s taken a beating this season as well. And while some believe Cousins is the answer to the Redskins problems, that remains to be seen.
I think Cousins is capable of playing well, but I don’t think it will be enough. The Redskins are a team in turmoil, and it will take more than Kirk Cousins to reverse the fortunes of a team in decline with a lame duck head coach. The Falcons are at home, and seem stable compared to the Redskins. That gives them the advantage. Falcons win. Redskins vs. Falcons.
Score prediction: 27-20 Falcons
Points spread: Falcons - 7
Over/under: 50 – Under