Week 3 of the NFL pre-season is typically the most exciting of the games, and the easiest to handicap. Generally, most coaches allow this week to serve as the final tune-up before regular season games get going, as the majority of starters will sit out entirely in Week 4.
With just two weeks to go before the regular season gets underway on September 5th, teams are undoubtedly ramping up their preparations to ensure they are ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
In tonight’s pre-sean slate, we will turn our attention to Atlanta where Matt Ryan and the Falcons will welcome Washington in a match-up filled with intriguing storylines on both sides of the ball.
For Atlanta, this is surely a make-or-break season for head coach Dan Quinn and many of the Falcons’ core. After playing in the Super Bowl just two years ago, many down moments have followed. It’s time for Atlanta to bounce back, though a lacklustre pre-season hasn’t calmed any fears heading into 2019.
For Washington, they are still undecided on who their starting quarterback will be for Week 1. They used a high draft pick on Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, though the veteran Case Keenum has shown to be serviceable and could serve as a solid placeholder until Haskins is truly ready. Regardless, we will get yet another look at these two battling it out on Thursday night.
Redskins vs. Falcons, and it should be fun to finally see some NFL action that resembles the actual sport, for a half at least. It has been a profitable pre-season run so far and we will look to keep the ball rolling with another winner to kick-off Week 3. Read on below the odds for a detailed game breakdown, and official betting selection for Washington vs. Atlanta.
Washington vs. Atlanta Betting Odds:
Washington Redskins -3 (-110)
@ Atlanta Falcons +3 (-110)
Over 41 (-115)
Under 41 (-105)
Washington vs. Atlanta Pick:
Both squads will be out searching for their first pre-season victory in this contest. For Atlanta, it’s actually their fourth game of the exhibition season, as they played the early extra week in the Hall of Fame Game loss to the Broncos. They have looked pretty mediocre so far as a team, and coach Dan Quinn has yet to really give his starting group a true run altogether, since so many of his first-teamers are locked into positions.
On Thursday, it’s believed that stars Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman will again be sitting out for Atlanta. Dan Quinn has been unorthodox in his approach to these games. Matt Ryan got 31 snaps last week, but is expected to actually receive fewer against Washington. Unfortunately, nothing has been confirmed yet, but based off of press conferences, quotes, and reporter insight – bank on Atlanta actually scaling things back in Week 3 as Quinn wants to focus on the “final 30 guys on the roster.”
That should open things up for the visiting Redskins to play their starters freely and finally make a decision in their QB battle between Keenum and Haskins. Projected starter Colt McCoy is still out and injured, so this final tune-up will carry a lot of weight with head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden has also already come out and said the starters will see their most work in Atlanta.
Also intriguing for Washington is the return of talented running back Derrius Guice to the field. The sophomore back tore his ACL early last year and will be returning to game action for just the first time since. He is elusive and explosive, and if he returns close to 100 percent, he should be able to feast on the lowly backups of Atlanta’s defensive unit.
Though Matt Ryan and the starters will play in front of the home crowd in Atlanta, I can’t imagine Dan Quinn again giving his depleted group 31 snaps. They’re already battling injuries and the hot-seat coach won’t want to risk any more knocks. Expect Atlanta’s first-team to be out there for about a quarter, before Matt Ryan gives way to Matt Schaub for the duration.
This is where the Redskins possess a huge advantage. Washington’s two QB’s of Haskins and Keenum have had pre-season success and can move the ball against Atlanta’s stop unit. It is believed that both will split time for the vast majority of Thursday’s contest, and that gives the ‘Skins a huge advantage in terms of overall depth. At just three-point road favourites, the QB battle and depth should result in some urgency with Washington when it comes to keeping the chains moving. Expect Washington to leave Atlanta with their first win of the pre-season.