49ers vs. Redskins in Monday Night Football

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 21, 2013 1:56 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 1:56 PM UTC

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!

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 20 inclusive:

27-23-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

5-8-1 Totals

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 Washington.

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.

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Losing 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.

Week 4: SF 53, STL 11 (SF –3)

Week 5: HOU 3, SF 34 (SF –4)

Week 6: ARI 20, SF 32 (SF –10)

Week 7: SF 31, TEN 17 (SF –3.5)

Week 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

Leave Robert Alone!

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, there’s fire.

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.

NFL Pick: Take the 49ers –4.5 at The Greek

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