Matchup: Atlanta Falcons (4-0) vs. Washington Redskins (2-2)
Kick Off: Sunday, October 11, 1PM EST
Location: Georgia Dome
Radio: Redskins Radio Network
Odds: Falcons (-9)
Twitter: @BreakBurgundy (twitter.com/breakburgundy)
Last Week: Washington pulled off a tight 23-20 win in the final seconds of the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons rode a much easier course to victory, blowing out the Texans 48-21.
Matchup History: The Redskins lead the all time series with a record of 15-8-1 but haven’t won against the Birds since 2003. Atlanta has won the past four matchups between the two teams.
Rankings (Yards Gained/Allowed):
Washington – Offense (8th), Defense (4th)
Atlanta – Offense (5th), Defense (27th)
Atlanta’s Strength: Over the last two games, the Falcons are averaging 43.5 points. Matt Ryan and the passing game have looked elite, but the ground attack has looked even better. Over the last two contests, starter Devonta Freeman has scored six, I repeat, six rushing touchdowns. The cause? Atlanta’s offensive line has been absolutely dominant this season, opening big holes for their running backs and giving deep threats Julio Jones and Leonard Hankerson time to get open down the field. The unit was one of the worst in the league last year, but a number of offseason additions and the improved play of the sophomore, Jake Matthews, have the whole Falcons offense making opposing defenses look foolish.
Atlanta’s Weakness: Who would’ve thought that the Falcons would struggle most under their new coach, Dan Quinn? The former Seahawks D-coordinator lead what was widely considered to be the best defense in the NFL before taking his talents to Georgiia this offseason. It has become evidently clear that there isn’t the talent on the Falcons’ roster to fit the specific mold that Quinn employed in Seattle. Atlanta will likely stack the box against the Skins, who still lack their deep threat in DeSean Jackson, so Cousins will need to take advantage of a less than stellar secondary and make a few deep plays in order to keep pace with the Falcons’ high-volume offense.
Fantasy Focus: The Redskins have been tough on defense so far this year, but there’s no stopping the Falcons’ well-rounded offense. Devonta Freeman has been a fantasy god over the last two weeks, and he should be played in all lineups until his hot streak ends. Kirk Cousins is an intriguing high upside option this week since the game will almost certainly be a shootout. High touchdown output may be in his future. The only offensive players in this game that should be avoided are the Redskins running backs, whose performances have become impossible to predict this season.
Prediction: There’s no stopping the Falcons. It’ll be a close game but ultimately, Cousins will crack first in a duel against a high-powered opponent. Julio Jones will have a big day on quick routes up the seam as the Falcons speed things up through the air to counter the Skins’ strong defensive front.
Final score: 31-20, Atlanta Wins