What else is new, another edition of the NFL in London. Last week the Giants and Rams played a rather forgettable game at Twickenham Stadium. In Week 8 we’re back to Wembley Stadium for the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals. While this is nothing more than a gimmicky game for marketing purposes in Europe, there are some big implications here with regards to Redskins and Bengals’ seasons. Most of the time a lot of these London games are pretty insignificant when we’re talking about the playoffs. Maybe for one team, but usually it isn’t a power matchup.
I don’t want to say this is a power matchup either, but it is certainly crucial for the Redskins and Bengals. The Redskins are coming off a tough last second loss to the Detroit Lions on the road, a 20-17 win for Detroit. The loss took them to 4-3 on the season, so it was a fairly big blow, 5-2 looks a whole lot better than 4-3. Conversely, the Bengals got back in the win column with a 31-17 win against the Browns.
There aren’t many positives I can take from a win over Cleveland, but it was a win they desperately needed, and it was against an interstate rival. The Bengals enter at 3-4 and need a win to bring them to .500. They just haven’t looked like the same team since they choked away their lead against the Steelers in the playoffs last season. It’s almost like a balloon was popped and they have no drive or energy left to get over the hump. There has to be a sense of no matter what we do, we’re never going to win a postseason game. Needless to say if the Bengals continue to falter, head coach Marvin Lewis’ job is going to be on the line this offseason. I highly doubt he can survive this season if the Bengals finish around the .500 mark.
Lose to the Redskins in London, and it muddies the situation even more for Lewis and his staff. Jay Gruden was an assistant coach for Lewis in Cincinnati and has since upgraded to a head coach with the Redskins. The notion of Kirk Cousins as a franchise quarterback is being questioned as well. There is no doubt he can be good, but question being, can he lead the Redskins to more? He will try and look great overseas in London against the Bengals. Find our early morning NFL pick below.
Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Bengals -3(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Redskins vs. Bengals Pick:
Matthew Stafford connected with Anquan Boldin with only 16 seconds left to take a 20-17 lead for the Lions. This was after the Redskins scored with 1:06 left to take a 17-13 lead. The defense played so well all game long, and then when they needed one more stop they couldn’t get it. It’s a hard one to take for the defense, who played so well against the Lions’ offense for nearly four quarters. Kirk Cousins passed for 301 yards and a touchdown, so you can’t say anything about him giving the game away. The Lions’ defense buckled down when they had to. Cousins has 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on the season.
Cousins has rebounded nicely after his slow start, though. Note that the Redskins are 3rd in the NFL in passing yardage per game. They are throwing for 277.7 yards a game. Washington successfully won four straight games before the loss to the Lions, so despite the failed effort, they’ve been playing quality football for the most part. The defense is allowing 23.1 points per game, which has been an improvement for the most part. The Redskins signed corner Josh Norman this past offseason to bolster their secondary. However, it appears that Norman is going to be questionable to start this week, after he was knocked unconscious against the Lions.
If Norman can’t go, this leaves a significant hole in the secondary. AJ Green is 2nd in the league in receiving with 775 yards and is averaging 110.7 receiving yards. Even if he does suit up, I can’t foresee him playing at 100 percent after being knocked out cold just seven days ago. Defensively the Bengals are allowing 23.1 points per game, exactly the same as the Redskins. Receiver DeSean Jackson is also entering this game hobbled with a bad hamstring, but is probable to play against the Bengals. I think Marvin Lewis out coaches his former student in London. This is an enormous game for the Bengals, who could slip to 3-5 with a loss. The Bengals caught the terrible Browns just at the right time, a game which should provide them with a springboard to get some confidence back.
PICK: BENGALS -3 (-110)