Washington Redskins Odds to Win the Super Bowl and Betting Futures
by Alan Matthews - 6/24/2014
The Washington Redskins probably can't wait until camp opens -- anything to take the spotlight off whether the team's nickname should be changed in the wake of the U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office rescinding federal trademark protections for the Redskins moniker. I don't really know what that means other than what I read, and it doesn't appear to do much, at least for now, as the team will appeal. But it's pretty clear that the pressure is going to force owner Dan Snyder to change it at some point over the next five years even though he has been steadfast that won't happen.
As for the on-the-field product, Washington entered last season as the defending NFC East champion but was a huge unknown because of the knee surgery that Robert Griffin III was coming off of. He very clearly wasn't the same player because of it in 2013 as the Redskins went 3-13, losing their final eight games. RGIII also didn't seem very happy with head coach Mike Shanahan or his son, offensive coordinator Kyle. Superstars rule sports, so RGIII got his way and they are gone. In is former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden as head coach. Not the sexiest hire -- not even the best Gruden -- but Jay did have success in helping to grow Andy Dalton (at least in the regular season) in Cincinnati and was a good head coach in the Arena League and UFL. Gruden's entire job description might as well be called "RGIII caretaker."
Gruden runs the West Coast offense like Shanahan did, but there are differences to be sure. For example, up front Shanahan preferred a zone-blocking scheme, while Gruden's Bengals were more of a power offensive line with largely man-to-man schemes and plenty of pulling guard and tackles. This should be a team that runs more than most with third-year back Alfred Morris emerging as an unlikely star. He might have been Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 if not for Griffin. Morris followed that up with 1,275 yards and seven scores last year, not quite his rookie numbers but still pretty darn good. RGIII is now one more year removed from his knee surgery and won't play with that clunky brace on in 2014. Gruden says the team will only use the read-option with Griffin occasionally.
The big offseason addition was receiver DeSean Jackson. The Redskins were Jackson's first visit after he was shockingly cut by the Eagles, and Snyder made sure Jackson never left without signing a contract. I'm sure that Jackson gets to stick it to the Eagles twice a regular season played a big role. Jackson caught 82 balls for 1,332 yards and nine scores last year. I tend to doubt he matches those numbers in D.C. because Pierre Garcon (113 catches, 1,346 yards, five TDs) is RGIII's No. 1 guy. Washington also has a good tight end in Jordan Reed and added Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts. A group that was pretty weak last year outside of Garcon looks much better now.
Despite the new head coach, the team retained defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, a guy Gruden knows as Haslett was his coordinator in the UFL. Haslett runs a 3-4 scheme that Gruden prefers. The defense needs to be better to compete for a playoff spot as last year it ranked 18th in total yards, 27th in yards per play allowed and 30th in points allowed. Washington slapped the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo, one of the best pass-rushers on the squad. The team also added a solid cornerback in Oakland's Tracy Porter. However, the big signing was defensive tackle Jason Hatcher from Dallas. He was terrific last season with 41 tackles and 11 sacks, which is a ton of sacks for a tackle and probably an aberration. However, one concern: last week Hatcher underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up issues with the cartilage in his left knee. He should be close to recovered by the time training camp starts, but keep an eye on that.
2014 Washington Redskins Schedule Analysis
The Redskins have the 16th-easiest or 17th-toughest schedule , depending on how you want to look at it as their opponents went a combined 125-130-1 last season, a winning percentage of .490. That's the toughest among NFC East teams. Washington's road slate (.512) is more difficult than at home (.469). Washington is a 2.5-point underdog for Week 1 at Houston, which is rather embarrassing considering the Texans enter on a 14-game losing streak. Of course, RGII starred at Baylor, which is about 180 miles from Houston. Washington had just a single road win last season, coming in Oakland.
If Washington can beat the Texans it has a good shot at 3-1 start. Jacksonville visits D.C. the following week, followed by a trip to Philadelphia (likely loss) and then hosting the Giants on a short week. Things get immediately much tougher after that with a Week 5 matchup against visiting Seattle, although at least the Redskins get a few extra days to prepare. Then three of the next four -- at Arizona, vs. Tennessee, at Dallas, at Minnesota -- are on the road but none against playoff teams. The Redskins' bye is Week 10. They may be home favorites in their final four there: Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Dallas, but they should be underdogs in their three remaining road games: at San Francisco, at Indianapolis and at the Giants.
2014 Washington Redskins Odds to Win the Super Bowl and Futures Betting Lines
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag . The Redskins are +5500 to win the Super Bowl, +2900 to win the NFC title and +450 long shots to take the NFC East. That Washington will make the playoffs is +400, while no is -600. Washington has a wins total of 7.5, with the "over" a slight -125 favorite. Griffin III is +2500 for NFL MVP, while Morris is +15000. RGIII is +7500 to lead the NFL in passing. Morris is +1800 to lead the league in rushing. Jackson is +7000 to lead the NFL in receiving yards and Garcon is +3500.
2014 Washington Redskins Picks and Predictions
I'm a bit surprised that Washington didn't get a bit more of a bump in futures odds with the addition of Jackson, but I suppose there's only so much a receiver can do. Obviously this is all about Griffin. Will he ever be as electric as he was as a rookie? I rather doubt it. The team doesn't want him risking his body unnecessarily. That's not to say he still can't beat guys with his feet once in a while. Just don't expect any more 76-yard TD runs like Griffin memorably had in 2012 against the Vikings.
This should be a very good offensive team, but the defense still is pretty questionable. I believe this is an eight-win club, probably 6-2 at home and 2-6 on road (wins in Houston and Minnesota). That won't quite be enough to make the playoffs, and I don't recommend any of the individual props, although Morris likely will be in contention for the rushing title.
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