NFL Week 7 Picks: Redskins at Panthers

So we’re back for the second installment of  Inside The Knox Score, where we breakdown each game on the NFL docket. For all of these games we cover key matchups on both sides of the ball as well as predict fantasy numbers, pick straight up winners , over/under predictions and the winner when taking the spread into consideration. Last week I crushed the predictions here at The Daily Beans going a whopping 10-1 picking straight-up winners, an astounding 9-2 against the numbers as well as an impressive 7-4 on the over/unders. In a nutshell, if you had put $100 beans on each game and the totals you would have gone a total of 16-6 and won $940 beans total. 

The Washington Redskins (3-2)  head to Carolina to take on the Panthers (1-5). The Skins coach Mike Shanahan once again has reacted hastily and is starting John Beck in favor of Rex Grossman. Grossman threw 4 INTs last week and has been replaced by a 30-year-old QB who hasn’t started since 2007. Yes, he was awful then too. The Panthers have the insanely talented Cam Newton leading the way again in the hopes he can learn how to help this team get another win. Too bad he couldn’t pull the old Bugs Bunny trick and play every position. The line started at -3 for the Panthers and has since been bet down to -1. The public is laying 65% of their picks on Carolina. So Why is the line moving down? Sharp bettors seem to think Washington will win this game outright. On to the trends.

Trends

The underdog is 9-0 ATS in the last 9 games head-to-head while the road team in this meeting is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings. Those trends favor the Skins. On top of this the Panthers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games vs teams with a winning record. The Skins are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games and 8-2-1 in their last 11 games as a road underdog. Dogs are barking loud here folks.

Redskins Offense vs Panthers Defense

The Rat, Mike Shanahan has replaced Rex Grossman with John Beck. Look I know Washington was 3-1, but Grossman has 9 INTS to 6 TDS and his passer rating is at 66.5%. The Skins making this change this week is smart playing  against the Panthers under-rated defense. and with the combo of Hightower and Ryan Torain facing the Panthers 31st ranked run defense, pressure should be limited. The Redskins should be running the ball at least 30-35 times this game and be in many 3rd and short situations. These situations will be managed better under Beck if he uses his tight-end Fred Davis. Davis is having a great year and the Skins like to feature a two-TE set with Chris Cooley. This will help the run game even more and we may just see 200  yards of rushing this game. Santana Moss will benefit from the Panthers having to stack the box and could be in single coverage often if the Panthers have to bring in the safeties closer to the line to help stop the run game. This is huge because the Panthers despite their defensive passing stats don’t get a lot of pressure on the line as is. They play some zone coverage that will be neutralized again if they constantly have to worry about the run.

Panthers Offense vs Redskins Defense

This is the match-up I’m most interested in this game. Spam Newton as I like to call him, not due to the food spam, but because of the Internet Spam. It’s everywhere as is Newton. In fact if there were a football movie about Newton he would be called Spam Shuttlesworth in my script. He is however facing a very tough defense this week.  Balance will be key for Carolina. I keep hearing that the Panthers have forgotten about the run game, but they still average 113 yd/gm and are in the top 13 in the league in doing so. They are facing one of the best pass-rushing teams in the NFL this week. The Skins have 17 sacks on the year averaging more than 5 sacks per game. The reason for this pressure is coming from their talented defensive line. The line has been getting the push that stops both gaps in the running game and collapses pockets around the QB. This will force Newton to the edges often and the clever blitzing packages could be troublesome for his reads. The Redskins pressure is coming from all angles. Led by Oshi Atogwe in the secondary, Brian Orakpo in the linebacking corps and Karriker on the defensive end. With Steve Smith being the only deep threat for Cam, the Panthers offense will have to be smart with Shockey and use their screen-game with DeAngelo Williams on rollouts. The pitch game may be huge for the Panthers if Cam can time it perfectly. If he pulls the safeties and LBs in tight and can get some key protection from Greg Olson. Snap-counts and Center, Ryan Kalil for Carolina will also be very important in this game. If Newton can get better at his hard counts and the Skins show get jumpy, showing their blitzing schemes they can use a similar game-plan as the Eagles di last week when they rushed the edges with the shifty McCoy and rolled out Vick. Similar skill sets from Williams and Newton and it may just work.

Fantasy & Game Predictions

Carolina’s defense has been their Achilles heel this season and  facing an offensively challenged Redskins team this week. I see Newton throwing a couple of picks against this pass rushing Skins defense. This will help Beck and the Redskins win the field position battle.  Mark down Newton to get 205 yards passing with about 40 yards on the ground with only 1 TD/2INTS. Williams will benefit from the option game and drop in 70 yards rushing with a TD. The Skins will run all day on Carolina’s defense. Hightower and Torain will combine for 140 yards of rushing and help to open up Fred Davis and Santana Moss for some room in the zone. Beck isn’t starting for any fantasy teams this week I hope, but if so, you can bank on 180 yards passing and a TD. My difference maker in this game will be the special teams. Brandon Banks gets big yardage and helps get the Skins over the 50 yard line twice. Fred Davis gets 80 yards receiving with 50 yards of help from Moss.

Pick: Redskins win this game 26-21 to cover as road dogs and the over is my pick in this game. 

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