If the Washington Redskins didn’t have bad luck they’d have no luck at all. For a team that dealt with an enormous amount of injuries last season, the Skins are at it again. And the running back position has been hit particularly hard this preseason. They lost second-round pick Derrius Guice to a season-ending injury in the opener and two more backs went down last week, forcing the team to reach out to Adrian Peterson. The Skins will continue to work on their ground game when they host the Denver Broncos in preseason Week 3 action.
This preseason Week 3 matchup will go down Friday, August 24, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. ET at FedEx Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Denver Broncos +3
Washington Redskins -3
Home field advantage typically means a lot in the preseason, and not surprisingly, we've got a very conservative betting line here with Washington favored by just the value of home field advantage. The Broncos take to the road for the first time after losing their first two exhibition games SU and ATS at home. Jay Gruden improved his preseason mark to 12-6 with last week’s win and the Skins are 7-3 SU and 6-2 ATS at home
After two dismal series in the preseason opener, Case Keenum finally got the chains moving for the Broncos. Last week’s game had a similar start but a much different ending for the free agent acquisition. After another three and out on his first series, Keenum led the first-team offense on a pair of scoring drives, ending his night 8 of 13 for 78 yards.
Chad Kelly moved ahead of Paxton Lynch for the No. 2 job and gained more separation after another strong outing against the Bears. Kelly was 7 of 9 for 90 yards, capping his first drive with his third touchdown pass of the preseason. He’s the only Denver QB to throw a scoring a scoring pass. The opportunities for Lynch are dwindling and he’s happy about playing on the road after getting booed by the home fans when he entered last week. GM John Elway hasn’t given up on the idea of bringing in a veteran to backup Keenum, though Kelly is doing his best to change his mind.
Expect to see more of Alex Smith on Friday after he played just one series in his Redskins debut last week. And it was typical of his play. Smith wasn’t flashy he was just effective, leading the Skins on a field goal drive by going 4 of 6 for 48 yards. He looked in mid-season form by standing in the pocket to let routes develop and showing enough elusiveness to avoid defenders.
Smith could play into the second half if Jay Gruden sticks with his philosophy, and that would leave backup Colt McCoy to finish things off. McCoy was 12 of 16 for 140 yards last week and has been busy this preseason going 25 of 34 for 329 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games. Kevin Hogan will likely start the Week 4 game.
Players to Watch
An already thinned out group of running backs took another hit last week when Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall exited with injuries and didn’t return. The Skins already lost Guice for the year and reached out to Peterson as a stopgap. The injuries to Perine and Marshall are not considered serious and they should be available once the season starts, but they won’t play on Friday.
Rob Kelly, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are the only healthy backs on the roster, and we probably won’t see Thompson, who broke his leg last November. Peterson gives the team some options and depth at the position and will likely get some time in the backfield with a chance to make an impression on his new coaching staff.
Free ATS Pick
The Broncos need to find out if Kelly has the goods to be Keenum’s backup since it’s obvious Lynch is not the guy. Kelly will get the chance by playing the second half and the competition will be more difficult than it was in previous weeks.
It’s all about working on the ground game for the Skins, which is an important element to make their offense more successful. Working without their top three backs will take a toll on the group and Smith will find himself under more duress against a Denver defense that is one of the best units in the league. However, Smith was effective against the Broncos during his time in KC and he can easily carve them up. We should see enough points to cash the over and the Skins will take advantage of better backup quarterback play to get the cover.
NFL Odds: Redskins 27, Broncos20
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