Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Washington Mascots (1-3)
The mascot-less team from Washington got off to a good start to their season with a win over the Eagles, but the Eagles were missing arguably their more valuable player in Lane Johnson in that game and have shown themselves to be a subpar team even with Johnson in the lineup over the past few weeks, while Washington has also struggled since that week 1 game, losing all three games by at least two touchdowns. To try to right the ship, the Mascots will make a surprising change at quarterback this week, benching second year quarterback Dwayne Haskins for backup Kyle Allen.
Haskins being benched isn’t all that surprising because he hasn’t played well in his limited career action and the front office and coaching staff that drafted him are no longer around, but I would have figured if he was going to get benched, it would be later in the season, rather than after only the 11th start of the 2019 first round pick’s career, and that it would have been for Alex Smith, a proven veteran starter working his way back from a devastating leg injury. Instead, head coach Ron Rivera is turning to his former starting quarterback in Carolina, Kyle Allen.
It’s hard to understand the logic here. Haskins hasn’t been good, but he still has a lot of upside and Allen is a former undrafted free agent who was truly horrendous down the stretch for the Panthers last season, tossing 16 interceptions in his final 9 starts after a somewhat impressive beginning to his career as a starter. Allen’s true talent level may be somewhere between his hot start and his horrendous finish, but even if it is, he’ll be lucky to max out as a long-term backup in the NFL. Allen also had 12 dropped interceptions last season, giving him the most expected interceptions in the league of any quarterback other than Jameis Winston, and he overall ranked 38th out of 39 eligible quarterbacks on Pro Football Focus.
Allen is not a short-term upgrade on Haskins nor does he do anything to clarify Washington’s long-term quarterback situation, as Haskins needs as much experience as possible to realize his potential, after just 14 collegiate starts. I didn’t have a strong lean either way on this game before Allen was announced as the starter, but I’m taking the Rams as a pure fade of Allen, who covered just twice in his final 9 games in Carolina, with more offensive talent around him than he has in Washington. There isn’t enough here for the Rams to be worth betting as 7.5-point favorites, but they should be the right side.
Los Angeles Rams 20 Washington Mascots 10
Pick against the spread: LA Rams -7.5