Will the magic continue in DC?
The Washington Football team has had its share of feel-good stories over the last year. From the miraculous comeback from beloved quarterback Alex Smith to head coach Ron Rivera beating cancer in returning to the sidelines. And now you can add Ryan Fitzpatrick to that growing list.
The flashy veteran signal-caller was heartbroken a season ago when he lost his starting job in Miami to Tua Tagovailoa. Now the 38-year old journeyman has the chance to display his magic with another franchise.
A season ago, Washington failed to finish with a winning record, but the Football Team still made the playoffs with a 7-9 mark as they claimed the NFC East title.
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With three of its first five games at home, Washington has the potential to set an early tone in the East. Washington plays host to the Los Angeles Chargers in the opener before a short turnaround against division rival New York in NFL Week 2 (Thursday).
After traveling to Buffalo in Week 3, the Football Team travels to Atlanta for another winnable game before hosting New Orleans in Week 5. A win here in this swing game could have Washington off to a 4-1 start before facing Super Bowl Odds Favorite Kansas City and Green Bay in back-to-back weeks.
Other Key Non-Divisional Games
NFL Week 8 ends a tough stretch of games for Washington that could define the season. The Football Team travels to Denver ahead of their NFL Week 9 Bye.
In a similar game as the Saints game, this too will be a swing game and one where the defense should be able to once again create an advantage.
Out of the bye, Washington plays host to defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay in Week 10, and then comes a game on the schedule in which head coach Ron Rivera has circled — at Carolina.
Of course, Riverboat Ron will downplay the game from a personal standpoint, but make no mistake, all of his players know just how much this game will mean to their head coach against his former employer!
Washington wraps up its non-divisional slate of games vs. Seattle in Week 12 (Thursday) and at Las Vegas the following week.
Down the Stretch in the East
As important as Washington’s first half of the season will be, the final five games will be just as crucial. The Football team wraps up the regular season with five straight games against division rivals, starting with the first of two meetings with Dallas in Week 14. A win here at home could be big in setting the tone down the stretch.
Fitzpatrick will not be handed the starting job automatically. As much as Fitzmagic has earned a chance for a full-time starting role, Taylor Heinicke has also earned his opportunity to compete for the starting job. Ultimately, this should be Fitz’s to lose, but there will still be competition here that could prove beneficial to the team.
Outside of Terry McLaurin, the Washington receiving group is pretty thin in regards to proven talent. Free-agent signee Curtis Samuel comes over from Carolina, where he caught 185 passes for 2,087 yards and 14 scores in his four seasons. He has the speed and the skillset to compliment McLaurin.
Cam Sims could be the wildcard here as he hauled in 32 passes for 477 yards last season in by far the most productive season of his now 4-year career.
Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic will be the main backs, while Logan Thomas will be the top tight end.
The defense will continue to be Washington’s calling card which should come to no surprise to anyone, given its head coach. Last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Chase Young, proved his worth as a top pick and is only going to get better.
Last season, Washington finished second to the Rams in total defense as 304.6 yards allowed from scrimmage. If the Football team can make a big improvement in the turnover battle (-4 last season), lookout.
BetUS Sportsbook has Washington’s odds of repeating as NFC East champions at +225 — behind Dallas at +125. New York is listed at +400, with the Giants at +500.
Order of finish can also be bet at Bovada Sportsbook – another top sportsbook listed at Online Betting Sports.
Dallas and Washington finishing as the top two teams in the division can be bet at +140 NFL odds, while if you are confident in the exact order of finish, those have a higher payout. Placing a wager on Dallas winning the East and Washington finishing second pays out +325 and +450 if you swap the two teams.
With some key swing games at home, the Football Team has enough to get the job done in the East with a 10-7 record and easily cashing in on the over of 8.5 wins.