Washington at Atlanta 11-8-09

November 8, 2009


Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons certainly need a matchup with a weaker opponent. Facing the Washington Redskins should give them a good chance to win, but may not help Ryan end his struggles. Losers of two straight for the first time under coach Mike Smith, the Falcons hope Ryan can handle a tough defense as they face an otherwise woeful Redskins team Sunday. Atlanta (4-3) has struggled since winning four of its first five, losing 37-21 to Dallas on Oct. 25 and 35-27 on Monday night. The Falcons’ defense faltered in those matchups, and Ryan fell short in trying to compensate. He threw three interceptions versus the Saints and was picked off seven times over his last three games. His nine interceptions are two shy of his total from last season, when he was the NFL offensive rookie of the year.

The Redskins have lost three straight and are 2-5 on the season, but a bounce back game for Ryan may not come easily. Washington’s defense is ranked second against the pass, giving up 164.9 yards per game while allowing six TDs. The Redskins are fifth in total defense at 283.4 yards a contest and in scoring defense at 17.6 points per game. Washington has been more vulnerable against the run, allowing 118.5 yards a contest, but has limited opponents to three rushing TDs. Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, encouraged by Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner’s strong performance against New Orleans, could go with a run-heavy game plan to take some of the pressure off Ryan. Turner had his best game of the season last week with 151 yards rushing and a score, and may have helped himself by spending extra time watching film of his 2008 season, when he was the NFL’s No. 2 rusher.

The Redskins have won six of the last eight meetings and have a 15-5-1 overall series edge. The Falcons have lost back-to-back games for the first time in the Matt Ryan era. This game has letdown written all over it, but the Falcons must win this game if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive and they will take care of business.  With that said i think this game we be alot closer than most think. Atlanta should win but not by much.

Free Pick Washington + 8.5

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