Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) at Washington Redskins (2-4)
The Redskins are going into a bye here, but that’s not a good thing, as counterintuitive as that might seem. Big home favorites (6+) typically do very well before a bye (59-20 ATS since 2002), but, for whatever reason, small home favorites like the Redskins are here do not. Teams who are favored by 1-5.5 points at home going into the bye are just 37-60 ATS over that aforementioned time period. Perhaps it’s that they get caught looking forward. That could easily happen to the Redskins here at home against the Buccaneers.
The Redskins are also pretty banged up right now, missing starting cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver and top wide receiver DeSean Jackson, but that’s nothing new for this team. Bashaud Breeland has played well as their top cornerback and their defensive front 7 has been great, as their defense has ranked 9th in rate of moving the chains allowed. Their offense has had problems without DeSean Jackson, ranking 26th in rate of moving the chains, but they still rank 16th overall in rate of moving the chains differential and their offense does get left tackle Trent Williams back this week. They really missed him in a road loss to the Jets last week. Prior to that, they almost beat the Falcons in Atlanta, losing on a pick six in overtime. They could have also beaten Miami if not for a return touchdown.
They’re way better than Tampa Bay, who has the 5th worst point differential in the NFL and who ranks 31st in rate of moving the chains differential. Even with that trend working against them and all their injuries and the Buccaneers relative lack of injuries (only defensive tackle Tony McDaniel), I still like the Redskins this week. There is too much of a talent disparity between these two teams for the Redskins to only be favored by 3.5 points at home. It’s not enough for me to put money on the Redskins, but they should be the right side.
Washington Redskins 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
Pick against the spread: Washington -3.5