Washington @ Dallas
Vegas: DAL -7.5
DomModel: DAL -3.584
Recommendation: WAS +7.5
-QB Alex Smith (leg) was injured week 11 and is done for the year.
-WR Jamison Crowder was INACTIVE weeks 7 – 11. He did not practice on Monday (11/20) or Tuesday (11/20).
-WR Paul Richardson (shoulder) was injured week 9. He is on IR.
-RB Chris Thompson was INACTIVE weeks 9 – 11. He did not practice on Monday (11/20) or Tuesday (11/20).
-RB Rob Kelley has been placed on IR.
-LT Trent Williams (dislocated thumb) was injured week 8 and did not return. He was INACTIVE weeks 9 – 11. He was limited in practice on Monday (11/20) and Tuesday (11/20).
-RG Brandon Scherff (Chest) was injured week 9. He is on IR.
-LG Shawn Lauvao (knee) was injured week 9. He is on IR.
-WR Terrance Williams (foot) has been placed on IR.
-LT Tyron Smith (stinger) was injured week 11. It is not supposed to be serious. He was limited in practice on Monday (11/19) and Tuesday (11/20).
-C Travis Frederick (illness) has been placed on IR. He has not played this season.
-LG Connor Williams (foot) was INACTIVE weeks 10 and 11. He was limited in practice on Monday (11/19) and Tuesday (11/20).
-DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) was INACTIVE weeks 10 and 11. He was limited in practice on Monday (11/19) and Tuesday (11/20).
-DT Daniel Ross (calf) was injured week 10. He was INACTIVE week 11. He was limited in practice on Monday (11/19) and Tuesday (11/20).
-DT David Irving (ankle) was INACTIVE weeks 8 – 11. He did not practice on Monday (11/19) or Tuesday (11/20).
-DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) was INACTIVE week 11. He practiced in full on Monday (11/19) and Tuesday (11/20).
-LB Sean Lee (hamstring) was injured week 9. He was INACTIVE weeks 10 and 11. He did not practice on Monday (11/19) or Tuesday (11/20).
When Washington has the ball:
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Yes, Alex Smith suffered a brutal leg injury and is done for the year. The model was run significantly penalizing the Redskins because of this. The model still likes Washington.
Replacing Alex Smith will be Colt McCoy. Yeah, this guy.
Does he look like a winner to you? Well, I don’t really give a shit because he only needs to not lose by more than a touchdown.
Let’s start with the offensive line, which is dealing with injury issues. I think they have a shot to get back LT Trent Williams (dislocated thumb). They lost both guards (Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao) week 9. Lauvao was in his 9th season and was let go for nothing by the Browns earlier in his career. Scherff is in his 4th season (all with the Redskins), and has been a much more productive player. The new guards are Jonathan Cooper and Tony Bergstrom. Neither player has had success in the league and has bounced around with multiple teams. It means the Redskins guard play is weak, but it was never all that strong to begin with.
The Redskins will also likely be without WR Paul Richardson, WR Jamison Crowder, and pass catching specialist RB Chris Thompson. That leaves WR Josh Doctson, 7th round rookie WR Trey Quinn, TE Jordan Reed, and WR Maurice Harris. Adrian Peterson will handle the bulk of the carries at running back.
Speaking of injuries, let’s take a look at who’s been missing for the Cowboys front seven:
-DE Taco Charlton (shoulder)
-DT Daniel Ross (calf)
-DT David Irving (ankle)
-DT Antwaun Woods (concussion)
-LB Sean Lee (hamstring)
We can probably expect Woods to come back, but not much else. I’ll also mention that rookie Leighton Vander Esch has filled in wonderfully for Sean Lee. Though the Cowboys are coming off back to back road upsets, there’s still major problems for the defense. They rank 19th in defensive DVOA and 14th in PFF’s grading system. They’ve given up a healthy 7.7 YPT through the air.
TL;DR Conclusion: Colt McCoy and a banged up offensive line/receiving core. What could go wrong?
When Dallas has the ball:
The Cowboys offense runs through Zeke, which isn’t exactly a winning formula in 2018. Though Zeke is one of the better pure runners in the league, it’s a pass first league.
Dak Prescott still leaves a lot to be desired as a passer. He’s barely over 2,000 yards and has only thrown for 11 touchdowns. Part of the problem has been his receiving core (or lack therefor). The Cowboys did overspend a first round pick to get Amari Cooper ahead of the deadline. Cooper started out red hot, amassing 17 targets in his first two games after being held to 3 catches for 36 yards against the Falcons “secondary.” The target leaders not named Cooper and Zeke: Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and TE Geoff Swaim. Gallup’s brother tragically committed suicide before last Sunday’s game, and he hasn’t been practicing. Swaim won’t play at all, and is such an insignificant piece I refuse to list him in my injury notes. That should tell you everything you need to know about the Dallas offense.
The Redskins defense has put together solid tape for where it counts: against the pass. They feature 3 defenders who have over 30 pressures this season (Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and Matt Ioannidis). In coverage, Josh Norman has been shadowing top receivers the last few games with success, and the Redskins have outstanding safeties (D.J. Swearinger Sr. and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix).
Against the run, they rank 28th in run defense DVOA. That is bad.
TL:DR Conclusion: The Cowboys banged up line could have their work cut out for them. Though Zeke is quite literally unstoppable, I expect the Redskins to contain the Cowboys offense.
Plus, when has betting on a backup QB ever gone wrong (rhetorical)?
That’s it for now, bitches.