Atlanta Falcons (4-0) at Washington Redskins (2-2)
Where: Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md.
When: Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox5 WTTG
Listen: SportsTalk 980
Betting Line: Falcons -3
The Redskins return to Fed Ex Field for only the second time this season, hosting Atlanta on Sunday at 1pm. The contest will serve as Washington's Breast Cancer Awareness game, part of month long activities league wide. Quarterback Robert Griffin III will be wearing a pink arm sleeve on his left- non throwing arm during the game.
The Falcons arrive unbeaten and are looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time in club history. Expect a high scoring affair, as both teams are averaging 31 points per game. Atlanta is performing much better on defense, allowing only 19 points per game, while the 'Skins are giving up nearly 31 per contest. Atlanta is a three point favorite with the over/under at 50. Washington is 4-0 to the over this season.
Atlanta is led by quarterback Matt Ryan, the NFL's highest rated passer at 112.1. Falcons running back Michael Turner will face a Washington defense yielding 89 rushing yards per game- 10th in the league. Atlanta wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, along with tight end Tony Gonzalez could have plenty of opportunities as the Redskins are allowing more than 326 yards per game through the air- third most in the NFL.
Redskins rookie of the year candidate, quarterback Robert Griffin III is fourth in the league in passing with a 103.2 rating and just one interception in 124 attempts. Washington has been relying on a ground game that is producing an NFL best 175 yards per game. Rookie Alfred Morris is averaging 94 yards per game rushing, including his first 100 yard performance on Sunday at Tampa Bay. Atlanta Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan is a familiar face to Washington fans, having served the Redskins in the same capacity under former Head Coach Norv Turner.
Washington hasn't won at Fed Ex Field since a 22-21 win over Arizona on September 18th of last year. The last time the two teams met, Turner ran for 166 yards and two scores in a 31-17 Falcons home victory in November '09. Atlanta has also won the last two meetings at Fed Ex, most recently 24-13 in December '06.
Prediction: Can the Redskins outscore the Falcons? Atlanta has game breakers on offense and big plays crippled the Redskins in September. Safety Brandon Meriweather remains out after the freakish pre-game injury prior to Sunday's loss to the Bucs. Washington is already without starters Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo for the season, but Pierre Garcon and Trent Williams made it through the Tampa game without further injury. Leonard Hankerson had a solid game in Tampa and newly signed running back Ryan Grant expects to be active on Sunday. The Redskins have piled up yards and points through four games but can't convert third downs, ranking last in the NFL at a dismal 25%. I have picked the Redskins each week this season, but have to go with Atlanta on Sunday. Falcons 35 Redskins 31
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FALCONS: QB MATT RYAN leads NFL with 112.1 rating. In career, Falcons are 27-0 when Ryan has 100+ rating (4-0 in 2012). When Ryan has 3+ TD passes, team is 14-0 (3-0 in 2012)…RB MICHAEL TURNER rushed for 166 yards & 2 TDs in last meeting. When Turner has 100+ yards & 2+ TDs, his teams are 9-0. Rushed for 103 yards last week & had 60-yard TD reception, 1st career rec. TD…WR RODDY WHITE had 8 catches for 169 yards (21.1 avg.) & 2 TDs last week. Since 2007, has 498 rec., most in NFC. In 9 career road games, WR JULIO JONES has 51 catches for 919 yards (102.1 per game) & 8 TDs. Has 100+ rec. yards in 6 of past 8 on road. Aims for 5th road game in row with TD. Has 6 rec. TDs in past 4 road games. TE TONY GONZALEZ has TD in 2 of 3 career games vs. Was. Has 98 rec. TDs & needs 2 for 100…DE JOHN ABRAHAM has 115 sacks, most among active players. Has 2.5 sacks in 3 meetings. Had sack & FF in Week 4. LB SEAN WEATHERSPOON had sack last week. DT VANCE WALKER had sack & FF in Week 4…REDSKINS: QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III leads NFL rookies & ranks 4th overall with 103.2 rating, completing 86 of 124 (69.4 pct.) for 1,070 yards with 4 TDs vs. 1 INT. Leads NFL QBs with 252 rush yards & 4 TDs. His 4 rush TDs are tied for most by any player…RB ALFRED MORRIS leads NFL rookies with 376 rush yards & ties for 1st among all players with 4 rush TDs. Redskins are 1st team in NFL history with 2 rookies (Griffin, Morris) with 4+ rush TDs in team’s 1st 4 games…WR PIERRE GARCON avg. 25.8 yards per catch. WR LEONARD HANKERSON aims for 4th in row with 50+ rec. yards. WR SANTANA MOSS has 12 catches for 170 yards (85 per game) & TD (42 yards) in 2 career meetings. TE FRED DAVIS aims for 3rd in row with 70+ rec. yards. Offense has scored 10 TDs in red zone, 2nd most in NFC…CB DE ANGELO HALL was drafted by Atl. in 1st round of 2004 Draft (No. 8 overall). Played 4 seasons with Falcons (2004-07) & had 17 INTs. Had INT last week. LB RYAN KERRIGAN had sack last week & aims for 5th in row with 0.5+ sack.
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