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11/21/2013 8:56:00 AM
Is Washington still a good fade candidate
after beating the football odds twice at home? It helps when San Francisco is
4-1 ATS on the road this year. Find out who we will be backing for this Monday Night Football match-up!
record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 20 inclusive:
ML (+0.71 units)
Is there any sin more unpardonable than
losing an NFL game? Fans in the D.C. area aren’t just turning against their
beloved football team – they’re turning against themselves. You may have seen
the story about the Washington fan in Virginia who narced on a driver with a
Dallas Cowboys decal and the vanity plate “F RG3.” That fan (whose own plate
reads “RG3FTW”) ended up buried under a Twitter deluge for being a snitch.
Suffice to say that Robert Griffin III is no longer the undisputed King of
All that could change with a victory on
this week’s very special episode of Monday
Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Washington is only 3-7 SU and ATS, but
a win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers (6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS) would keep
Griffin and Co. within shouting distance in the weak NFC East. San Francisco is
favored by five points on the Week 12 NFL odds. It’s doable.
Is a Disease
That doesn’t mean it will be done.
Washington has had a brutal season thus far, brutal enough to land at No. 29 on
the Football Outsiders efficiency charts (No. 16 offense, No. 27 defense, No.
32 special teams). The 49ers, on the other hand, are looking a lot more Super
Bowl contendery after their slow start, going 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in their last
seven. However, that includes back-to-back losses to the Carolina Panthers (who
covered as 6-point road dogs) and the New Orleans Saints (who didn’t as
3.5-point home faves).
Losing to the Panthers (No. 3 in
efficiency) and the Saints (No. 4) is no shame. And while we’re at it, neither
is losing to the Seattle Seahawks (No. 2) or even the Indianapolis Colts (No.
13). The 49ers have done a fantastic job of mopping the floor with lesser
teams; here’s a look at their recent 5-0 SU and ATS streak.
4: SF 53, STL 11 (SF –3)
5: HOU 3, SF 34 (SF –4)
6: ARI 20, SF 32 (SF –10)
7: SF 31, TEN 17 (SF –3.5)
8: SF 42, JAX 10 (SF –16)
Now let’s see how these five teams stack up
in terms of efficiency:
St. Louis Rams: No. 20
Houston Texans: No. 30
Arizona Cardinals: No. 14
Tennessee Titans: No. 23
Jacksonville Jaguars: No. 32
The game against Arizona (6-4 SU and ATS)
was a little tricky, and no wonder – the Cardinals have the best defense in the
NFL through Week 11. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing for the reigning NFC
champions. Note as well those three road wins; add the payday against New
Orleans, and the Niners have paid out in four straight away games. Their only
failure on the road was in Seattle. It gets noisy there.
Be sure to check out our:
NFL Picks: Week 12 Fades & Games to Avoid
NFL Picks: Week 12 Value Picks
FedExField might get pretty noisy, too, but
that’s not necessarily a good thing for Washington. Griffin has come under fire
from disgruntled fans and even disgruntled teammates, who have gone on talk
radio and criticized Griffin’s leadership skills. Naturally, these comments
were taken out of context and blown out of proportion. But where there’s smoke,
The cold, hard stats tell the more
important story. Post-surgery, Griffin is playing at replacement level this
year; his plus-24 DYAR passing ranks No. 27 among qualifying QBs, one spot
below Arizona’s Carson Palmer (plus-38). And Griffin is barely mobile this year
at plus-4 rushing DYAR, or No. 21 overall, two spots behind Cleveland Browns QB
Brandon Weeden (plus-8).
Playing at home is still valuable even if
half your fans hate you, and Washington has covered back-to-back games at the
former Jack Kent Cooke Stadium – against the Chicago Bears (–1) and the San
Diego Chargers (+1). It could happen again. I’m not betting on it.
Pick: Take the 49ers –4.5 at The Greek