hR Weekly Guest Column from SBRForum.com
Washington Redskins Facing a “Must Win” As 3-Point Favorites Over Carolina
With a record of 3-5, the Washington Redskins are hovering on the periphery of the NFC playoff race. They will have a big chance at moving to .500 prior to their bye week with a winnable game against the 1-6 Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Head coach Mike Shanahan understands the importance of Washington’s tilt with the last-place Panthers. Despite being only at the halfway point of the season, Shanahan called this week’s game a “must-win” for the Redskins.
Washington is coming off consecutive road losses to the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the NFL’s elite teams. As Shanahan noted, getting a win against a struggling team like the Panthers is probably imperative if the 49ers are going to make a playoff run.
This is one of the more interesting games of the week as it features the last two Heisman Trophy winners. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III won the award last year and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton took home the hardware two seasons ago. The Week 9 NFL odds have the Redskins listed as 3-point home favorites with the over/under set at 47 points.
Griffin is coming off perhaps his worse game of the season against the Steelers, though he certainly wasn’t helped by a rash of dropped passes from the Redskins receiving corp. Griffin was just 16 of 34 passing against the Steelers, which was his season-low for completion percentage, while also failing to provide a spark on the ground.
With that said, the biggest anchor to the Redskins playoff hopes this season has been its 29th-ranked defense. It has been especially bad against the pass. The Redskins rank dead-last in the NFL against the pass with 314.2 yards a game given up. If the Redskins can’t get their defense figured out quickly this will be another year that Washington misses the playoffs.
The Redskins look to be in a good position this week. Carolina has struggled to stop the run this season and historically Shanahan-led squads have feasted on such teams. Look for Griffin to rebound from last week’s poor performance and lead the Redskins to a comfortable cover against Carolina.