The story here is going to be defense - more specifically, Washington’s lack of one. In the first year of the Mike Shanahan era the Redskins find themselves dead last in the league in yards allowed. When that is combined with an Indianapolis offense that is the third ranked in the league despite not being nearly as crisp and sharp as we know it can be, then you have a matchup that could be interesting.
What’s interesting about Washington’s defense, though, and what makes the game more interesting as the result. They aren’t consistently lousy. In their three wins they have allowed fewer than 13 points per game, and have only allowed one TD per game. In the losses, though, they have been stung for 30 points a game. Washington has also been good at takeaways - eight in five games - and that has helped to make up for some of the yardage issues.
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While we are on the topic of Washington’s defense one story to keep our yes on will be Albert Haynesworth. Despite all of his unhappiness coming into the season and the subsequent drama it caused, Haynesworth is having a very good year. He’s also coming back after missing last week’s game due to the death of his brother. Haynesworth could be very fired up for this one, and if he is fired up he is one of the few players in the league who can single-handedly be a game-changer.
Indianapolis will be able to pass against Washington, and they will do a lot of it. They really need to get their running game going, though - it is ranked 28th in the league. Unfortunately, that might be harder than it seems - Donald Brown, Joseph Addai, and Mike Hart are all banged up. Hart is the healthiest and will likely see a lot of action on Sunday night, but he’s a long way from a featured back, and the offense will likely be one-dimensional as a result. It’s not like Indy isn’t used to winning like that, though.
Colts vs. Redskins Betting Odds and Line Movement
The game opened with the Colts favored by the key number of three, and it has stayed there. Action is heavily tilted towards the Colts - more than 80 percent of bets. The fact that the number has hardly moved, then, is a pretty good indicator that there is some solid smart money on the Redskins. The total opened at 44.5 and can be found there or at 44.
Colts vs. Redskins Betting Trends
The Colts are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games against teams with a winning record. Washington is just 7-15 ATS in their last 22 against teams with a winning road record.
Indianapolis is 7-2 ATS in their last nine as road favorites.
Washington is 5-12 ATS in their last 17 at home, and 1-6-5 ATS in their last 12 as underdogs of three or fewer points.
The ‘over’ is 5-1 in Indianapolis’ last six road games. The ‘under’ is 13-5 in Washington’s last 18 home games.
Colts vs. Redskins NFL Picks and Predictions
This is a hard game to figure out because both teams have had their impressive games, and both have laid eggs. For example, Indianapolis couldn’t have looked better when they demolished the Giants, but a week earlier they looked lousy when they lost at Houston. Washington got a great road win at Philadelphia in a very emotional game for their QB, but were terrible the week before when they lost badly at St. Louis.
With each of these teams you not only have to look at what they can do and how talented they are, but you also have to guess which team is likely to show up on a given day and what kind of effort they will put forward. Both teams have talent - though Indianapolis has much more - but both teams have shown a concerning ability to tune out and underperform as well.
Ultimately, with the line just a field goal it comes down to determining which team I trust more, and that’s definitely Indianapolis here. I don’t like the inconsistency they have shown on offense, their lousy running game, and the occasional issues on defense, but they still have the best QB in the league facing a defense that will allow him to pile up the yards.
There are a lot of offenses in the league that can pile up the passing yards yet fail to win. Manning’s offense is rarely one of them. Manning is infinitely more reliable than McNabb, and has been far more consistent this year and throughout their careers. For that reason alone I have to go with the large majority and take the Colts. I get nervous when the action is so unbalanced and the line isn’t moving, but I just can’t justify taking the other side.
I don’t have a strong opinion on the total, but if pressed I would favor the ‘over’ - Manning and the Colts will score, and Washington should add some points of their own.