Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST.
Tampa Bay -8 over WASHINGTON
8:15 PM EST. Antonio Gibson (toe), Terry McLaurin (ankle) and Alex Smith (calf) are all questionable on the injury report for the Football Team. All three players were held out to rest on Tuesday and then went through limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday. Smith is a game-time decision and Taylor Heinicke has taken most of the first-team reps in practice so either can go but let’s assume that Smith is playing.
Playing in the worst division in NFL history, Washington won seven games. They started out 1-5 and got better. Washington went 3-7 outside of the NFC East. Their last two home games were both losses, 20-13 against the Panthers and 20-15 versus the Seahawks over the last three weeks. The Football Team took the division, but the Eagles' decision to outright throw the game and tank switch to their No. 3 quarterback "just because" helped greatly to secure the win.
To recap, last week Philadelphia lost on purpose and still almost beat the Football Team. Alex Smith was an NFL caliber QB but now he should be on the sidelines with clipboard in hand or counting heads as the players exit the bus. Washington has one-win this season against a team with a winning record and that team was Pittsburgh in a strange scheduling spot at the time when the Steelers were on the verge of hitting the skids. Take away that win over the Steelers and Washington’s victories came against Philly twice, Dallas twice, Cinci and San Francisco (minus everyone).
Why Tampa Bay isn’t a double digit favorite here is nuts. Some will argue that Washington’s defense is great but we’ll argue until we’re blue in the face that there is no such thing as great defense anymore. The NFL rules do not allow for it and therefore, there are only inept offenses. Tampa Bay’s offense is not inept. Furthermore, by the third or fourth quarter, Washington’s defense is going to be gasping for air after being on the field so often.
Playing one of the easiest schedules in league history, Washington ranked 31st in offensive efficiency this season. That is the worst ranking by a playoff team in the past 20 years. The difference between then and now is that there were defenses back then but there are no defenses today. In other words, Washington’s inept offense can’t move five yards in a league in which the rules are geared towards the offense moving the chains. Tampa’s offense is good for 28 or more today.
Finally, and for what it’s worth, this is the NFL circus show where ratings and money rule the day. We ask you, which team does the NFL want to see advance, the Football team and Alex Smith or the GOAT? The Bucs don’t need the zebras' help here but early on, don’t expect to see Washington get any calls in their favor while Brady always gets calls in his. Washington is a non-playoff team that is forced to get embarrassed by the playoff structure and we’re betting that the Bucs will accommodate. We might go down today but if we do, it won't be with a ticket on the Football Team.
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Tampa Bay -8 -101 (Risking 2.02 units - To Win: 2.00)