Free NFL Picks: Tampa Bay at Washington 12-12-2010

December 11, 2010


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins

Sunday December 12th, 2010

Line: Tampa Bay -3


The 7-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have surprised everyone this season. They have yet to beat a winning team, but have looked impressive even in some of their losses. Last week, they gave the Falcons a run for their money. Tampa Bay is third in the NFC South, but could still sneak into the playoffs in a number of different scenarios. They still have the Seahawks and Lions remaining on their schedule, but before they look ahead, they need to take care of business by knocking off Washington this week.

The Redskins looked like geniuses when they were 4-3. By bringing in Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan, they had already matched their win total from 2009. While they have still improved on the four wins they posted last season, the Redskins are only 5-7. They are unlikely to be favored in any of their games for the remainder of the season and the season as a whole has been a disappointment. A win over Tampa Bay would be a step in the right direction.

Keys to the Game:

  • LaGarrette Blount is having an outstanding rookie season. Last week, he carved up the Falcons and posted 103 and a touchdown. He is a huge bruising back with surprising quickness. The Redskins allow an embarrassing 137 yards a game on the ground. Blount could surpass the career high 120 yards he set against Arizona. The Bucs open up their entire offense when they get the running game going. It’s likely to happen this week, as the Redskins have looked downright terrible at stopping the run and tackling in general.
  • Donovan McNabb is not likely to see anything but 3.75 million dollars of his outrageous contract. McNabb has only thrown more touchdowns than interceptions one time this entire year. He was supposed to give the Redskins direction and leadership, but the turnovers he has created in every game since week three are proving costly. The offensive line is adjusting to youth and overturn, but even so McNabb continues to make concerning decisions. Unless he posts Tom Brady or Michael Vick numbers and wins out, it is unlikely the Redskins will shell out money to keep him.
  • Josh Freeman’s numbers aren’t jaw dropping, but he is effective nonetheless. He has not thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in any game this season. In only his second year, he appears extremely comfortable. He is mobile and has the ability to extend plays and find receivers down the field. The Redkins rank near the bottom of the NFL at defending the pass, so Freeman could enjoy a big statistical day. He has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game and could be poised to do so, especially if the Redskins become overly concerned with Blount.
  • Santana Moss deserves some recognition. His 64 catches rank 10th in the NFL this season. While he may not be posting incredible yardage, he is a large part of whatever success the Redskins have enjoyed this season. He will be going up against Rhonde Barber and given the speed discrepancy, he could have success against the Bucs. The Redskins have no viable running option, so they could get pass happy.

Key Matchup:

DeAngelo Hall Vs. Mike Williams

  • DeAngelo Hall ranks second in the NFL with six interceptions; however, four of them came in one game. He has regressed since the beginning of his career, but remains a threat when he plays at his full potential. He can run with virtually any receiver in the NFL and will need to be playing his best football this Sunday when he takes on rookie Mike Williams.
  • Williams has seven touchdowns this season. If Sam Bradford had not had such an incredible impact on the Rams, Williams could make his case for being considered for Rookie of the Year honors. He is head and shoulders above the other receivers that came out in his class, and has given Josh Freeman a reliable option. If he is left in single coverage with Hall, he will get the best of him at least some of the time.

Wrap Up:

The Bucs look like they could destroy the Redskins. The Bucs are playing for playoffs and it remains unclear what the Redskins have to play for or who they are as a football team. Tampa Bay is focused on reaching the playoffs and the Redskins are in complete disarray. The Bucs haven’t lost to a losing team this season and I don’t see it starting now that so much is at stake.

Free NFL Pick: Tampa Bay -3

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