Don’t write off the newly christened Washington Football Team if you believe they won’t reach the 5.5 over-under threshold. Sure, the under is safer for the Washington Football Team in 2020, given new systems, a new coach, and some roster turnover.
This article isn’t saying Washington will overcome their 5.5 over-under win projection in 2020, but plenty of reasons show they can pull a few upsets and end up with 6 or more wins.
From a more favorable schedule than their NFC East rivals to a proven head coach in Ron Rivera to an outstanding defensive front, here are 6 reasons you must consider betting the over for the Washington Football Team before betting the under.
1. Experience Counts in 2020
In the wake of the practice issues around the league and axing preseason, all 32 teams need all the experience they can get.
It starts on the offensive line with Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses entering their sixth and seventh seasons, respectively. Add Adrian Peterson and even Alex Smith, and the offense contains a solid veteran presence.
Better yet, they can still produce. Something to consider when placing those bets at an online sportsbook. Peterson averaged 4.3 yards a carry with 898 yards on 211 attempts. Even at 35 and entering his thirteenth season, he is still among the league’s better backs.
Smith hasn’t played since his 2018 leg injury, but he still provides a leadership and mentor role for quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen, even if the starting quarterback for 2021 isn’t on the roster. Smith also provides excellent insurance if Haskins and/or Allen struggle.
On defense, Ryan Kerrigan enters his tenth season in Washington. And though 2020 is his first season in D.C., linebacker Thomas Davis enters his sixteenth season in the league.
In even better news for the Washington Team, Davis knows head coach Ron Rivera’s system. He will help oversee the transition in a year where teams have 45 to 50 days to mesh.
Many teams with new coaches and younger rosters lack such leadership, so holding onto veterans who played in the league for a decade or more is a bonus. They know how things work in the NFL, and they will bring the younger players to another level.
Given the state of the 2020 season, the veteran presence is even more valuable.
2. Ron Rivera’s Presence
New head coach Ron Rivera is a true alpha male. He oozes confidence and commands respect from his players to even franchise brass. Rivera isn’t just coming in as a head coach; he’s tasked with changing the entire culture in D.C. Even on the business side of the franchise.
Rivera also has a say in helping choose the Washington Team’s new name after his influence helped owner Daniel Snyder retire the former name and logo.
That says a lot about Rivera, but ultimately what happens on the field matters the most.
And Rivera’s track record as a head coach places the ball in his corner.
If the Washington Team had more stability on the roster, they make the same category as the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. 2 teams with new coaches but with rosters who can win now.
However, Ron Rivera is also like new Cowboys coach in many avenues, Mike McCarthy. Rivera, like McCarthy, is a proven coach who went to the Super Bowl to cap off a 15-1 season. While his Carolina Panthers didn’t win, it showed he belongs as a coach in the NFL.
Maybe he does it in D.C., perhaps he doesn’t. Time will tell.
3. Youth Gone Wild
Okay, so Washington has a few budding stars on the roster who can make the leap in 2020 despite the restrictions 2020 brought. Below are a few names opposing defenses must respect in 2020, even if they aren’t big names… yet, anyway.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin surprised in his rookie season last year. The third-round pick logged 58 catches, 919 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He established himself as a deep threat with a 15.8 yard per reception average and heads into 2020 as the top receiver.
Another young receiver is 2019 sixth-round pick Kelvin Harmon, who logged 30 receptions for 365 yards. Many will scoff at those production numbers, but if you follow the NFL, few rookie sixth-round draft picks log even half of what Harmon produced.
Running back Derrius Guice finally found the field and posted 245 yards on 58 carries. He is injury prone, as he proved in 2018 and 2019, but when he is on the field, he is another building block in D.C.
If healthy, Guice will take over the role as featured back over Peterson.
Defensive end Chase Young will change the course of the Washington pass rush. While his first official NFL snap won’t come until Week 1, he was the most sought after player in the NFL Draft among teams who already had an established quarterback.
Young is the plug, and play type teams covet, and he becomes the fourth first-round pick projected to start on the Washington defensive line. Arguably the best player in the draft, Young will put up numbers from Day 1. You will find more on Young in the next section.
If quarterback Dwayne Haskins breaks out, consider it a bonus. But big names like Urban Meyer, Bill Callahan, and Jay Gruden already called out Haskins for his maturity and work ethic. Ron Rivera is even more of a stickler here.
4. It Starts in the Trenches
If the Washington Team is number one in anything, it is in the trenches. Their defensive line is the most talented in the game, and their offensive line isn’t far behind.
Sure, the team lacks long-term talent at most skill positions, especially quarterback.
As mentioned in the above section, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses are among the NFL’s most stable offensive linemen.
Second-year player Wes Martin is versatile and can start at either center or guard. He produced well when given a chance in 2019 and looks to become another permanent fixture on the line in 2020.
It is rare to see first-round draft picks at every position in a unit, but the Redskins accomplished it in 2020. Ryan Kerrigan continues to anchor the defensive line and is the unit’s best player despite a down year in 2019. He will bookend one end.
Chase Young is the latest addition and has a rare mix of top-notch talent and potential. He was the best player in college football a year ago.
Opposing offenses have two options with Young. Either double-team him and let someone else produce or let him wreck their backfield.
You may think it is premature to project a player to produce well before they even take a snap. And Ohio State is the same school Vernon Gholston, one of the biggest flops in NFL history, attended. Like Young, Gholston had high expectations.
The difference is that unlike Gholston, Young joins a proven and productive defensive line not just big on its front four, but also on depth.
This leads to Jonathan Allen, a fourth-year player from Alabama. An interior lineman, Allen is one of the team leaders on and off the field. He met with Chase Young on the morning of the draft, and the chemistry between the two is already there.
Allen finished third on the team with 6 sacks in 2019, and he continues to build an impressive resume. He can rush the passer and play a run-stopping role. Many regard him as the team’s most complete defensive lineman.
Finally, you have Allen’s college teammate in Da’Ron Payne, drafted in the first round the year after the Redskins selected Allen. Payne is the least productive lineman, but like so many talented lineman, disrupting plays doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
Payne can pressure the quarterback and force running back to change directions. If he continues this, he is doing his job and will remain with Washington for years to come.
If the starters aren’t enough, don’t forget about Montez Sweat. Sweat established himself as a gifted pass rusher when he logged 7 sacks during his rookie campaign. He falters in run support and is a splash player, but 7 sacks in one’s first season is an excellent place to start.
After starting 16 games in 2019, Sweat will rotate in on specific packages.
Owning perhaps the league’s most dangerous defensive line is a bonus when each NFC East rival boasts a strong featured back. The Cowboys have Zeke Elliott, the Eagles have Miles Sanders, and the Giants, Saquon Barkley.
By forcing teams to go one-dimensional, Washington has an advantage over every opponent.
5. Playing Against Cellmates
Washington finished fourth in the NFC East in 2019, meaning they get to play the other fourth-place teams in the NFC. This season, the dishonor goes to the Detroit Lions of the NFC North and the Carolina Panthers of the NFC South.
With no off-season workouts and preseason, the Panthers will suffer more than any other team. However, they have a proven name at quarterback and the best back in football.
But it won’t be enough as the Panthers welcome in a new coaching staff and, as mentioned, turnover at every position.
The Lions are the worst team in the NFC, talent-wise. Sure, Matthew Stafford returns, and there are some stars on the roster, but what will Stafford look like after suffering another back injury in 2019?
Also, the Lions epitomize futility. They have done so since 1957, but other than Stafford, this is the worst Detroit Lions team since the 2008 disaster. After back to back 9-7 seasons in 2016 and 2017, they finished 9-22-1 since hiring Matt Patricia from the New England Patriots.
Patricia’s only genuine success since taking over as head coach involved avoiding a level of futility not seen since 2008 regarding his defense.
Like many ex-Patriot assistants who became head coaches, Patricia hasn’t succeeded. The Ford Family who owns the Lions already handed him his ultimatum: Win, or you’re out. He won’t last past Halloween. And when an interim coach comes in, say goodbye to any chance at a successful season.
While Washington finished 0-6 in their division in 2019, they have two teams they should handle in Detroit and Carolina. It is also safe to favor them against the Cincinnati Bengals, who will also see a lot of new faces in 2020, including a new quarterback.
Pencil Washington to win these games in 2020. Despite a brutal schedule outside of the listed opponents, they only need a few upsets to reach their threshold. If they win games they should win, their job is even easier.
Trust in that veteran leadership on both the field and the sideline, as well as the emerging stars and Washington may end up 6-10.
6. New Name and a New Outlook
Under their old nickname, Washington suffered through almost 3 decades of mediocrity, with the occasional divisional championship and playoff appearance.
The Tennessee Titans, who changed their name in 1999 from the Tennessee Oilers leaped out to a 13-3 record in their first season as the Titans.
Perhaps the Washington Football Team does the same with a proven head coach in Ron Rivera, whose influence the organization has already felt. It is an omen that owner Daniel Snyder hired Rivera to do more than just change the product on the field.
Reinvigorate team identity with a new name and new outlook. Perhaps starting in 2020 when they will go by Washington Football Team while working out trademark issues to unveil their new name within the next 18 months.
This author is guessing (hoping) the name will be Razorbacks, a nod to the team’s old unofficial nickname for their offensive linemen of the 1980s and early 90s, the Hogs. The Washington Razorbacks just fits.
Either way, new identities can and will make a difference. Just go back in the history of the 4 major sports: The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in their first year as the Avalanche. We know what the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017-18.
Over to the MLB, the Tampa Bay Rays earned a trip to the World Series in their first season after changing their name from the Devil Rays, where they never finished better than fourth in their division.
Some of you will think this section is barking mad, but after a brief history lesson, new identities do strange things to teams.
Besides, 2020 is a barking mad year for the global population. Anything can happen.
Many see the nameless Washington Football Team as the capital of futility in 2020. But with a proven winner in Ron Rivera, it takes the guesswork out of whether a coach will succeed.
While it is never a guarantee for any success in the NFL, the odds rest in Rivera’s favor.
He has trust from his players, coaching staff, and team brass. He also brought in veteran talent who played in his system and posts a strong outlook for the team.
Washington possesses a solid mixture of veteran leaders and young talent. The leadership vets will help ease the difficulty in a transitional year.
So, does the Washington Team have the tools in place to make it worth betting over their 5.5 over-unders in 2020 at NFL betting sites? Why or why not?