November 17, 2019

Washington Redskins Game 9: New Orleans Saints – Five Takeaways

The Washington Redskins put together a masterful performance at FedExField on Sunday afternoon, defeating the New Orleans Saints, 47-14.

For as dysfunctional as this team has looked this season, they were anything but against one the NFL’s perennial powerhouses. From start to finish, Jay Gruden’s squad was in control and maintained their momentum throughout the game, finishing the Saints off with a strong fourth quarter.

Along with those, here are five more takeaways from the Redskins’ fourth home-win of the season. [Read more…]

Redskins Week 10 Game Preview: vs. New Orleans Saints

The Washington Redskins return home after a one-sided road loss to face the up-and-down roller coaster ride that is the New Orleans Saints. Washington put forth a feeble effort against the mighty Patriots last week, dropping 7 balls and committing costly turnovers, all while allowing LeGarrette Blount to run all over them and Tom Brady to slice them up in the passing game. The Saints are also coming off an embarrassing loss to the lowly Tennessee Titans at home, a game in which they allowed Titans rookie Marcus Mariota to throw for 371 yards and 4 TDs.

The Saints had won three straight games to move to 4-4 before that game behind their powerful offense, but now sit at 4-5 looking to sniff .500 again. The Redskins sit at 3-5 but are a stellar 3-1 this season at FedEx Field, and they look to make that mark 4-1 this week. [Read more…]

Fantasy Football: Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Week 15 Survivor pool picks (or suicide pool picks if you prefer) are here. Week 14 saw some wild finishes that saved more than a few people. Are there any safe Survivor picks in Week 15 in the NFL?

Week 14 recap

The Baltimore Ravens improbable comeback paired with the Patriots similar comeback saved lots of entrants last week. The Pittsburgh Steelers are really the only team to take any sizable portion of remaining pool entrants out as the Steel Curtain was quite forgiving.

Bye week: None. We are done for the year with byes.

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Thursday:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Carolina Panthers

29.90%

1

Philadelphia Eagles

31.60%

2

Philadelphia Eagles

17.40%

2

Carolina Panthers

28.55%

3

Denver Broncos

9.70%

3

Kansas City Chiefs

8.02%

4

Kansas City Chiefs

9.40%

4

Indianapolis Colts

7.14%

5

Atlanta Falcons

8.40%

5

Denver Broncos

5.41%

6

Indianapolis Colts

4.80%

6

San Francisco 49ers

4.20%

7

New Orleans Saints

4.60%

7

New Orleans Saints

3.67%

8

San Francisco 49ers

3.80%

8

Atlanta Falcons

3.28%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.80%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.31%

10

Detroit Lions

2.50%

10

Detroit Lions

1.58%

 

Again, a reminder that you should be doing the math on your own pool as this late in the game the rankings above are less representative of what is happening in your pool than earlier in the season. Let’s see what we have for Week 15.

  1. Denver Broncos – If you have the Broncos (and if you do I’m impressed) take them now. There continues to be no reason to save teams at this point. The Broncos offense is clicking on all cylinders and even without Wes Welker; they should be fine as Jacob Tamme will slide into the slot role for the Broncos. The Chargers offense has become more balanced through the season, but the Chargers pass defense won’t be able to keep the Broncos off the board to allow the Chargers offense to pile up enough points to win. This should be a track meet won by Denver. I give the Broncos an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers swarming defense faces Geno Smith in Carolina. I’m not sure there is much more to say. The Panthers’ offense is a little banged up now so they may struggle to score, but Smith will likely gift wrap a few turnovers to help the Panthers’ cause. I give the Panthers an 83% chance of winning.
  3. Detroit Lions – The Ravens are bad on the road (1-5 record this year). The Lions are pretty good at home. The Lions were embarrassed in the snow last week, but back indoors they should be able to run around the Ravens. The Lions run defense is stout (last week was an anomaly in the sown) so the Ravens will need to rely on Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and whoever else is catching passes this week.  I give the Lions a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Dallas Cowboys – This is only valid if Matt Flynn starts at QB for the Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is back, take this game off the board. The Cowboys head back home after a crushing defeat by the Chicago Bears. However, it is December and the Cowboys have struggled in December for many years and their run defense can be gashed. Eddie Lacy won’t likely be at 100%, but the Cowboys should be able to bounce back with Flynn at QB. I give the Cowboys a 74% chance of winning.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – The Texans cannot wait for the season to end. They fired Gary Kubiak this week, but I don’t imagine that will fire up the troops enough. The Colts have started to give some younger WRs playing time and the results have been solid. The Colts are back at home and Andrew Luck is a bit more comfortable at home so the Colts should be able to push the Texans closer to the number one pick in 2014 when they may get the chance to draft David Carr’s brother. I give the Colts a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Atlanta Falcons – Two teams with identical 3-10 records, but seemingly one is much worse than the other. Washington has become drama central as they have benched Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season. Mike Shanahan continues to leak news to Adam Schefter regularly so that his side of the debacle can be told. The Falcons have two of their three wins at home this year and are starting to get healthier on offense. Their defense is still a sieve, but Washington’s pig-headed coaching staff likely can’t take advantage of that weakness. I give the Falcons a 69% chance of winning.
  7. New Orleans Saints – The Saints head on the road to take on the St. Louis Rams. In the Saints last road game, they were blown out of the Pacific Northwest by the Seahawks. They regrouped last week to manhandle the Panthers at home. I assume that the dome will feel like home to Drew Brees and company. The Rams have gotten good play from both sides of the ball and are beginning to incorporate more playmakers (like Stedman Bailey) into the offense so they are dangerous. They don’t have enough tools to keep up with Brees & Co. I give the Saints a 68% chance of winning.
  8. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks may be the best team in the NFL. They do head east into the cold, but they face an underachieving Giants team that shows very few vital signs.  I give the Seahawks a 64% chance of winning.

Just a reminder, there is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last couple of weeks in the season and most pools will come to a close in Week 17 or early in the playoffs.

Other teams I like early this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Oakland. Yes, I told you to avoid them last week as well and I was completely wrong about how incompetent Washington was and is. This week, they go on the road for a division matchup against a Raiders team that hasn’t been as bad as all would have thought they would be. I’d probably also stay away from the San Francisco 49ers heading east to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tennessee Titans at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are now without Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary and the Titans could take advantage of that with Justin Hunter on the outside and Delanie Walker abusing the Cardinals soft middle.

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Washington Redskins Week 1 Preview: Who are the New Orleans Saints?

by Adam Vingan, Special to District Sports Page, and unapologetic Saints fan

Who Are The Saints?

Actually, the more appropriate question is “Who Dat?” Either way, the Saints are one of the NFL’s most elite teams in recent seasons; since 2009, New Orleans is 37-11 during the regular season. Oh, and don’t forget about that Super Bowl XLIV championship. They also have one of the league’s most intimidating home-field advantages. There is nothing like a Sunday in New Orleans during football season. The lack of open container laws means that the entire city is a giant tailgate party. And they start early. By game time, the Superdome is filled with 75,000 highly-energized (and intoxicated) fans ready to make some noise. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that the Superdome is deafening. Good thing Robert Griffin III and the Redskins have been preparing for that.

Their offense is pretty good, right?

Right. The Saints’ offense led the NFL in total offense (467.1 yards per game) and passing yards (334.2 yards per game). That second number can be attributed to quarterback Drew Brees, who set a NFL record with 5,476 passing yards last season to go along with 46 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions. Brees has an arsenal of offensive weapons that he can throw/hand off to, from tight end Jimmy Graham (11 receiving touchdowns) to speedy running back Darren Sproles (1,313 total yards). Don’t forget running backs Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory as well as wide receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. It’s a stacked team.

But that bounty thing…that should slow them down.

Well, the bounty scandal only affected players on the defensive side of the ball. The coaching staff, however, will be missing its heartbeat – head coach Sean Payton – all season long. Payton’s offensive wisdom and penchant for taking calculated risks has been a large part of the Saints’ recent resurgence, but interim head coach Joe Vitt (who will miss the first six games due to suspension), interim-to-the-interim head coach Aaron Kromer, defensive coordinator/former Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael (as well as Brees) should handle his absence without missing a step. Meanwhile, New Orleans will likely have one of their best defensive players — defensive end Will Smith — back for Sunday’s game earlier than expected. Friday, an appeals board overturned the suspensions of four players associated with the bounty scandal, Smith being one of them (he was scheduled to miss four games). RGIII’s first start just got tougher.

So what’s the key to possibly beating the Saints Sunday?

Of course, the spotlight will be on Griffin, but if the Redskins hope to win Sunday, they will need their defensive line to be on top of its game. Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and the rest of the line will need to put pressure on Brees and force him to make rushed decisions. Brees, who releases the ball very quickly, will have a field day against the Redskins’ depleted secondary if given enough time to scan the field.

What’s your prediction?

I think RGIII will have a strong showing in his debut, but between the possible return of Smith, a lively New Orleans crowd and just the sheer dominance of the Saints’ offense, I don’t give the Redskins that much of a chance. The score will be close early before New Orleans takes over before halftime. Saints 38, Redskins 17.

__________________________

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Redskins coverage on Twitter @RedskinsDSP.

Three Things To Watch: Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints, Week 1

Each week on Friday, as a preview of the upcoming Redskins game, District Sports Page will publish “Three Things to Watch” for that week’s game.  This week, the Skins travel to New Orleans to face the Saints, coming off the suspension of their head coach… and a 13-3 regular season. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins caught up in “Bountygate” through former coach

On Friday of last week, the Washington Post’s Mark Maske reported that under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams the Washington Redskins had a similar bounty system to the one under investigation in New Orleans. Williams also had a similar system in Buffalo during his time there. Williams’ system rewarded players for hits with “kill shots” (hits that knock a player out of the game) earning a greater dollar amount than other hits.

Former Redskins players Matt Bowen and Phillip Daniels seemed to confirm the policy with their recent statements.

I didn’t think anything of it until a sportswriter friend of mine posted the story on Facebook and called the actions pathetic. Is what the Williams did as a defensive coordinator for the Saints, Redskins and Bills pathetic? Or was he just trying to gain another advantage to give his team a better chance to win games?

At one extreme of the argument is Gregg  Doyel at CBS Sports. He posted a column today calling the acts criminal. He relies partially on his father (a retired judge) to support this notion. Now, my father is a retired physicist not a retired judge so I won’t comment on the criminality of Gregg Williams’ actions. However, I’m not sure the story will reach a conclusion when Williams is escorted to prison.

On the other side of the argument are those who liken football players to gladiators. They say football is a contact sport and these players are taught from a young age to be aggressive. They are taught to hit as hard as they can; to fly around the field and cause havoc. Injuries occur all the time in football and it is the nature of the game.

Let me attempt to find a middle ground here. I think many are bothered that the bounty scheme amounts to “planned” injury or damage. Everyone would acknowledge that the nature of the sport of football (and many others) is planned collision. This human demolition derby ensures that individuals get injured.

Injuries and physical damage occur in football (and in just about any other corner of the world commensurate with the implied risk of the activity). Gregg Williams (and those who aided and abetted him) increased the implied risk of an activity without informing the other parties in the planned collisions thus destroying the integrity of the sport. What players are trained to do is irrelevant because the assumption is that all players are taught the same thing (or similar) and each person walks on to the field with full information regarding those tactics.

I agree that it is pathetic that one human being would pay another human being to injure, maim or indeed end another person’s career. Is it unexpected in a sport such as football? No (see Ryan, Buddy who incidentally Gregg Williams worked for).

Are these people gladiators? Sure, but know that gladiators were not what Hollywood has made them out to be. They were generally shunned or derided and more often than not came from the prison or slave population. And at least gladiators were armed – the literal meaning of gladiator is “swordsman” (thank you three years of high school Latin).

The opponents in games against Gregg Williams’ defenses were not properly armed to fight a fair fight. Roman gladiators had a better chance. Williams and the teams he worked for should be punished with a sentence not yet seen in the NFL.

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