NFL Picks: Redskins vs. Raiders in Week 4

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:11 PM GMT

Who’s going to be the Oakland Raiders quarterback this Sunday? According to our NFL odds board, most online sportsbooks don’t seem too bothered by the uncertainty.

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You may have heard about the warning stickers that are getting slapped on football helmets these days. The one that Schutt Sports uses is particularly striking, and includes this phrase in all caps:

"NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PROTECT YOU FROM SERIOUS BRAIN AND/OR NECK INJURIES INCLUDING PARALYSIS OR DEATH. TO AVOID THESE RISKS, DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL."

Something to keep in mind while we’re betting on the NFL, I suppose. It’s only Week 4, but the league is already facing the kind of attrition that used to be reserved for Week 14. The latest casualty is Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, who suffered a concussion in last Monday’s 37-21 loss to the Denver Broncos (–16 at home). Pryor’s status is uncertain for this Sunday’s matchup against Washington; however, most books have posted their NFL odds with Oakland getting three points at home.

Pryor Restraint

As we went to press, the latest word on Pryor was that he did not practice Wednesday and was still undergoing tests. Pryor got sandwiched between Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard as he ran a QB draw late in the fourth quarter near the Broncos goal line; he remained in the game to finish the drive, which stalled at the 1-yard line, but it was Matt Flynn who came on when Oakland recovered a fumble in Denver territory. The Raiders (1-2 SU, 2-0-1 ATS) scored to complete the matador push.

It’s still possible that Pryor will suit up on Sunday (4:25 p.m., FOX). But he says he can’t remember the hit that knocked him out of last week’s contest, and with Flynn taking all the first-team snaps in practice on a short week, the football betting world is going ahead with Oakland at +3, even though Washington has been just brutal this year at 0-3 SU and ATS.

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 In Like Flynn

Then again, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Pryor get fed to the wolves again. That’s pretty much been the case in Washington with QB Robert Griffin III, who has repeatedly come back from concussions and knee injuries to play at less than 100 percent. Pryor and Griffin both belong to the community of dual-threat quarterbacks, which means they’re a threat to get creamed on running plays as well as passing plays.

Flynn is not that kind of quarterback – which is the main reason why he lost his starting job in both Seattle and Oakland during the preseason. It isn’t because of a lack of talent as a passer. Flynn (91.9 career passer rating) has excellent touch and accuracy, a reasonably strong arm, and enough pocket awareness and athleticism to work his way out of jams. But Flynn doesn’t provide the 7.6 yards per carry that Pryor has this season.

Griffin D’oh!

For that matter, Griffin isn’t rushing for 6.8 yards per carry like he did last year. That number’s down to 4.1 yards, thanks to his surgically reconstructed knee. However, RG3 did look a bit more lively last week against the Detroit Lions (–1 away), picking up 37 yards on six carries in a 27-20 loss. Again, he’ll be fine. Until the next concussion and/or knee injury, at least.

It’s still the Washington defense that makes this team so eminently fade-worthy. Football Outsiders has the D in D.C. ranked dead last in the league after three weeks, two spots worse than Oakland’s struggling unit. That’s without taking strength of opposition into account, but both these teams have had their hands full – the Raiders did get that one game against the Jacksonville Jaguars before playing Denver, though. I think I’ll take the home dogs anyway, in my sports picks.

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NFL Pick: Take the Raiders plus the points, +3 (-105) available at Bet365

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