Redskins vs. Falcons NFL Picks: Atlanta's High-Powered Offense Will Help Take the Total 'Over' 47.5

Jason Lake

Saturday, October 10, 2015 2:51 AM GMT

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 2:51 AM GMT

Believe it or not, the total for Sunday's matinee between Washington and Atlanta is one of the biggest on the Week 5 NFL odds board. We'll buy that for a dollar.

Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 7: 16-9 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 10-13 Total

Another week of NFL action is upon us, and once again, there are no 50-point totals on our NFL odds board. Not as we go to press, at least. And amazingly, one of the biggest totals of the week involves Washington. We're looking at a total of 48 points for Sunday afternoon's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) with the Atlanta Falcons. They'll be in the Georgia Dome, which should help both offenses keep the chains moving. But Washington (UNDER 3-1)? Really?

It's a fact. Atlanta has split the totals at 2-2 this year, but each of the last two games went way OVER the posted total. The Falcons didn't even need any help in last week's 48-21 blowout of the Houston Texans (OVER 47.5). And according to our consensus reports, 62 percent of bettors are putting the OVER in their NFL picks for Sunday. Apparently we're supposed to play along.

 

Birdland on 48
I'm not so sure. The Falcons scored two touchdowns on defense against Houston, although they would have smashed the total anyway. Fair enough. And fine, Atlanta's offense scored all the points in Week 3, when they thumped the Dallas Cowboys 39-28 (OVER 43.5). But would you believe Washington has a better defense than those two teams?

That's what the DVOA numbers at Football Outsiders tell us. Washington is in the middle of the table through Week 4 at No. 17 overall (No. 21 pass, No. 7 rush), ahead of No. 22 Dallas and No. 26 Houston. Even the Simple Rating System at Pro-Football Reference thinks better of Washington (+1.9 DSRS). That's the kind of half-decent play D.C. fans have been craving for years.

 

Culliver's Travails
So why the rush to bet the OVER? It might have something to do with the clash between Washington's injury-plagued secondary and Atlanta's air attack. RC Chris Culliver has been toasted like a batch of pumpkin seeds this year, and he was held out of Thursday's practice after having an MRI on his sore left knee. The MRI came up clean, but Culliver's status for Sunday remains uncertain.

On the other side of the field, you have WR Julio Jones. Yikes. Jones is the No. 2-ranked wideout in the league according to DYAR, and he leads the league with 38 catches for 478 yards. If Washington tries to double-team Jones, Leonard Hankerson (No. 13 in DYAR) is happy to pick up the leftovers – he caught six passes for 103 yards and a major against Houston. Hankerson was limited in Wednesday's practice by a sore thumb, although he's expected to play Sunday, as is TE Jacob Tamme (concussion). All right, put us down for the OVER, but make it a small bet. It's still the Washington Redskins.

NFL Pick: Take OVER 47.5 (–114) at Pinnacle

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