Redskins at Panthers and Beating the Book


Nov 8, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands off the ball to running back Alfred Morris (46) against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins are getting healthy and playing better over the past few weeks. They have won two of their last three games including a blowout win over the Saints last week. In between the two victories, the Redskins failed to give the Patriots their first loss, losing by 17 points.

This week, the Redskins get another chance to knock an unbeaten team off and give them their first loss. The Carolina Panthers are playing great defense and are led by their quarterback Cam Newton. Newton is having a very good season and has been an MVP candidate with his team undefeated.

To win this game, the Redskins will need to run the ball well and often against the Carolina defense. Kirk Cousins will also have to continue his mistake free play at quarterback but also threaten the Panthers defense with downfield throws. If the Redskins are able to stretch the Panthers defense and win the time of possession battle a win is highly likely.

In their victory over the Saints last week, the Redskins defense was very impressive. After giving up two touchdowns early in the game on a missed tackle and a failed coverage, the Redskins shut out a good Saints offense. Their defense will have to play as well without the mistakes if the Redskins are to win this week.

I like the Redskins chances to upset the Panthers this week with the Panthers set to travel to Dallas for a Thanksgiving Day game next week. The game will be close and may be decided by a late field goal and the Redskins kicker, Dustin Hopkins, has been as good as anybody this season. Take the Redskins and the 7.5 points to keep it close versus the Panthers in one of my Top Bets of the Week.

Redskins +7.5 over the Panthers

The Denver Broncos have lost two consecutive games including a rare home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Now they travel to Chicago to face a Bears squad led by their former coach, John Fox, and offensive coordinator, Adam Gase. Chicago has won two games in a row and four of their last six after looking terrible in three blowout losses to start the season.

Everything points to a huge advantage for the Bears with Peyton Manning injured and inactive for the game. Fox and Gase have a lot of knowledge of the Broncos players including Manning’s replacement at quarterback, Brock Osweiler. What Fox and the Bears don’t know is how the Broncos will do with Osweiler replacing Manning.

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Except for a win over the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago, Manning has been awful in 2015. Osweiler has been with the Broncos for four seasons and I expect him to improve on Manning’s play this season and allow the Broncos to threaten defenses with their entire offense. The Bears defense has played better over the past few weeks but they are still rebuilding and do not have great talent on that side of the ball.

The Bears have better talent on the offensive side but may be without their leading receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, and top runner, Matt Forte. Jay Cutler is playing well this season under Gase but still has a history of throwing games away. The Broncos still have the best defense in  the league to take advantage of Cutler and as long as Osweiler doesn’t turn the ball over, Manning had four interceptions against the Chiefs, they will control the game and win the game for Denver.

Best Bet of the Week

Broncos -1 over the Bears

The Green Bay Packers have lost three games in a row since their bye week after winning their first six games before it. Seems like they didn’t use their week off to the best advantage. The Packers defense has failed to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and their offense looks completely out of sync. Now they face Minnesota(7-2) for the division lead.

Minnesota lost the opener versus the 49ers badly but have been on a roll since only losing one game, in Denver, by three points. They have a balanced offense and a defense that has only allowed over 20 points once this season (23 to the Broncos). Minnesota and Green Bay are heading in opposite directions and this game is in Minnesota.

Aaron Rodgers and his receivers don’t have the chemistry this year that they have had in the past. The receivers are not getting separation from defenders and Rodgers has not looked like himself in the pocket. Unless the Packers have a miracle resurgence this week, Minnesota will win easily so take them and give the one point.

Minnesota -1 over the Packers

The New England Patriots may get some of their injured offensive linemen back this week when they face the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately for them, they will be without Tom Brady’s favorite target, Julian Edelman. In New England’s quick passing offense, Edelman has been a key component as was running back Dion Lewis, who is out for the season.

The Buffalo Bills get a chance to improve their standing in the division in their rematch with the Patriots. The Patriots won 40-32 over the Bills in week two of this season. After struggling without their quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, the Bills have looked great in consecutive wins over division rivals, Miami and New York with Taylor back in the lineup. With a win over the Patriots, the Bills would be 4-1 in the division.

The Bills defense can be stifling at times under head coach Rex Ryan. They gave up 34 points in consecutive weeks to the Bengals and the Jaguars(in London) and gave up the 40 to the Patriots but have not allowed over 17 in any other game. Buffalo’s offense works best with Taylor at quarterback and they are much healthier now with Lesean McCoy and Sammy Watkins also back in the lineup.

I think the Patriots win a close game this week, maybe late as they did last week versus the New York Giants. The Bills have a legitimate chance at the upset though and will keep the game close. Take Buffalo and the seven points over New England.

Bills +7 over the Patriots

There are many games that I like to a slightly lesser degree. The Lions, Dolphins, Rams, Falcons, Jets, Buccaneers, Chiefs and 49ers should all cover the spread as well. This is the part of the season where teams show more of who they really are.

I lost my Best Bet of the Week last week to fall to 6-5. My Top Bets are under .500 again at 20-21 but I went 5-4 overall to bring that total to 52-32-2 for the season. Just as teams show who they are at this time of the season, so do bettors and I expect to finish strong this year.

My College Best Bet won again when Navy blew out Tulsa to give me a 6-1 record and College Top Bets are now 20-7 after going 2-1 this week. Overall, I went 23-17 for the week on college games and my season record is 103-65-2. There are only two more weeks of college games left before the bowl games. I will be picking every bowl game on twitter with a different degree of strength of bet.

For my college picks and updates on the NFL picks including my Thanksgiving Day picks, follow me on twitter @westcoast_skins. Good luck this week!

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