Three December road games will test Kirk Cousins’ mettle as the Redskins defend their NFC East title
Washington improved its record for a third-straight season in 2015, and this year will look to post back-to-back winning records for the first time since 1997. The season win total (7.5) is giving optimists a chance to hop on board but after winning the division, their schedule ranks as one of the toughest in the league.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 9-7 SU and 9-7 ATS
Over/Under: 9-7 O/U
Noteworthy: Washington (B+) received the top Draft Grade amongst NFC East teams, according to Pro Football Focus. Top two picks were WR Josh Doctson and Su’a Cravens, who made a name playing both safety and linebacker at USC.
The Redskins meandered through the 2015 season going 5-7 SU through Week 13 and putting up pedestrian numbers in most offensive/defensive categories. The problem is that they couldn’t win on the road, going 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS, and getting outscored 32-17. It was capped by a 44-16 blowout in Week 11 at Carolina where QB Kirk Cousins was sacked five times and the run game held to 14 yards.
Washington flipped a switch in Week 14, going 4-0 SU/ATS to secure a NFC East title but it should be noted that none of those victories were against playoff bound teams (combined record of 25-39 SU). Cousins should have a better grasp of the offense as the bona fide starter, his receiving corps is stacked and we’ll look for big things out of second-year back Matt Jones who takes over the No. 1 after Alfred Morris left for Dallas.
Team defense improved from 30th overall in 2014 up to 20th under first-year D-Co Joe Barry. Thier pass rush was a big part of their late run, totalling 17 sacks in the final four games. LB Junior Galette (Achilles) is expected to join the club after missing all of 2015, and Galette led the Saints with 22 sacks from 2013-14. Factor in the signing of free agent CB Josh Norman and this unit is poised for another step forward.
REDSKINS BOTTOM LINE: TURKEY DAY TREATS
Washington will embark on a three-game road trip in Week 12, starting in Dallas. The early line is Cowboys -3.5 and the recent history for road teams with short lines in this spot is 28-10-1 ATS. Circle the Skins as a “live” dog in this Thanksgiving Day showdown.