Sunday’s matchup between these two teams is more of a home farewell to Washington QB Kirk Cousins than anything else. Both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs and really have nothing left to play for. The Denver Broncos will continue to evaluate their mess at the quarterback position and work in some of their younger prospects, while Washington will most likely bid adieu to Cousins who should become the top free agent this year. Well, that depends if Washington wants to franchise him for a 3rd straight year. Kickoff inside FedEx Field is at 1 PM ET.
Since 2001, these two teams have played 4 times and they’ve split those games at 2 wins apiece. Their last encounter was in 2013 and the Broncos won that game 45-21. Washington last hosted the Broncos in 2009 and they won that game 27-17. Overall, Washington has a 3-2 all-time record at home against Denver, but the Broncos lead the series with a 7-6 record.
Denver (5-9) is 1-6 on the road this season and I don’t expect them to improve that mark this weekend. Despite coming into this matchup with 2 straight victories, the Broncos are a hot mess at the QB position. As of now, we don’t even know who will start at QB as Denver’s coaching staff is considering their options of Lynch or Osweiler. Whichever quarterback plays, they will make Washington’s defense look like the best defense in the league.
Washington (6-8) has a 4-3 record at home and come into this matchup losing 3 of their last 5 games. But, they have won their last 2 home games, which were against poor teams similar to the Broncos. So, Washington definitely has a plus matchup this weekend and I believe they will notch that 7th victory in Cousins’ home farewell.
The spread opened with Washington favored by 4 points. Since then, it has bounced around at 3 to 3.5 points. Since we’re going with Washington in this one, it’s best to snag anything at a field goal or lower. The Over/Under opened at 42 points and has come down to 40.5 total points.
Kirk Cousins will have a battle on his hands this weekend as the Broncos boast one of the best defenses in the league. They’re top 5 against the run and the pass, and only allow 288.2 total ypg. It’s no coincidence that once their defense started clicking again, the Broncos won 2 straight games. However, they did win those games against a terrible Colts team and a Jets team that lost their starting QB. This weekend, Denver will face one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Cousins.
On the season, Cousins has 3,636 passing yards and 24 TDs to just 9 interceptions. He has outplayed all 3 of Denver’s quarterbacks combined (2,934 yards, 17 TDs, and 19 INTs). I fully expect him to do it this weekend even against a great defense. I believe Cousins will put up 250 yards and 3 TDs against Denver.
The key for Washington in this game is getting defensive pressure on Lynch or Osweiler. If Washington can bring the pressure and force a few turnovers then Cousins and the offense will have a shorter field to work with, have more offensive opportunities, and could potentially wear down the Broncos’ defense late in the game.
Denver’s best chance in this game is running the ball. Running back CJ Anderson is coming off his best game in 3 years as he put up 158 rushing yards on 30 carries against the Colts. Washington allows over 123 rushing ypg, so Denver has a legit chance at success on the ground. And it will be the reason why they keep the game close for most of the contest.
I see this game unfolding late in the 4th quarter as Cousins leads the offense down to a last minute scoring drive and a 24-20 victory. I expect Denver’s defense to keep the game close and for their rushing attack to break 125 yards and score a few touchdowns. Unfortunately, their quarterback play will once again come into play and cost them a victory. Cousins will get his farewell moment at home this weekend and a nice sendoff into free agency.
Denver is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games, 1-8 ATS in their last 9 road games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against Washington. Washington is 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against teams with a losing record.