Washington played their Week 13 game against Dallas on Thursday and lost 38-14 in a miserable performance. The Redskins offense was extremely sloppy, with Jamison Crowder letting a ball sail through his hands for a pick and then fumbling another one away. Offensive line injuries caused no end of pressure on Kirk Cousins who responded well, but his supporting cast was just too off-form to give him much help at all.
The Chargers battled to a 19-10 win over Cleveland last week. It was a long slog to score points against a determined Browns defense, but the Chargers own D held firm and did enough for it not to matter. Phil Rivers ended up throwing for 344 yards and a touchdown to Keenan Allen, who has been playing lights out in recent weeks.
Both of these teams have been maddeningly inconsistent in 2017. The Redskins have challenged some of the best teams in the NFL this season, and then struggled against some of the worse. The Chargers put Buffalo and Dallas to the sword in Weeks 11 & 12 before struggling mightily against Cleveland in Week 13. You never know what you are going to get from these two teams except at one position.
Two good quarterbacks
Phil Rivers has bounced back from some early season shakiness to throw for 1,029 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions in the last three weeks. He is posting his highest QB rating since 2012 and the lowest interception percentage of his career this season.
Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins has been playing phenomenally well recently even if his stats don’t necessarily reflect that. He has picked up 815 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions in the last three games, and been the only rock in the Washington offense.
Is anyone able to block?
The Redskins offensive line has been a mess of injuries all year, and last week was no exception, with Trent Williams missing some time and Morgan Moses missing even more. At the time of writing, Williams is listed as questionable with a knee issue, Moses is questionable with an ankle, and center Chase Roullier has missed the last two games with a hand problem and is also questionable. Not to mention that they have four other offensive linemen on IR.
Sometimes you can get away with shaky tackle play, but the Redskins are facing two of the best defensive ends in the business in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram this week. It won’t be easy to handle them when your tackles have lower body issues.
Matchup to Watch: Keenan Allen vs Josh Norman
Allen has been a beast over the last three games, racking up 436 yards on 33 catches to go along with four touchdowns. He currently sits fourth in receptions and fifth in receiving yards in the NFL, making him one of the deadliest receivers around right now and a dreadful matchup for Josh Norman, whose name still draws eyes but whose play has dipped from its peak.
Fantasy Tip: Chargers RB Austin Ekeler
I’m a big fan of the rookie Ekeler. He has been a menace for opposing defenses and is a quality receiving option for Rivers both out of the backfield and when lining up out wide. He will be dependent on touchdowns for a big points haul, but 80 scrimmage yards is not out of the question.
Betting Tip: Redskins (+6)
It’s a big line, and with the Chargers you never really feel safe giving points. So take six and trust in Cousins to get the job done.
Prediction: Chargers 24-20 Redskins
I think the Chargers will take this one. They are in better form and are still alive in the playoffs, but it will be very close. If Bosa and Ingram really take over then it could be a blow out, but I trust Cousins enough to keep the Redskins on track and keep the points coming.
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