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2020 NFL Preview

32 in 32: Washington Football Team 2020 Betting Preview

32 in 32: Washington Football Team 2020 Betting Preview

One word can summarize Washington’s 2019 season.


The team without a name in 2020, played most of 2019 without an offense.  After Alex Smith suffered a horrific leg injury in 2018, Jay Gruden was left to scramble to find a quarterback to man his offense.  For Gruden, the desired QB was Case Keenum.  For Snyder, it was first-round pick Dwayne Haskins.

The inner-conflict about who should play quarterback for the nameless squadron ultimately led to Gruden losing his job after a dreadful 0-5 start to the season, and Haskins would wind up finishing the season as the team’s quarterback, but not until Week 9 of the lost season.

The team’s best player on offense was their franchise left-tackle Trent Williams.  Snyder, naturally, botched this entire thing as well.  Williams would hold out until the trade deadline for how the team handled an injury and cancer scare over the past few years.  The offense was doomed from the start.

There weren’t a whole lot of good things to happen to Washington a season ago.  Even their wins would prove long-term to work against them.

In the immediate week after the team fired Gruden, they would play the Miami Dolphins and leave Miami with a 17-16 win — only because Kenyan Drake dropped the game-winning two-point conversion.

That moment would eventually cost Washington the #1 overall pick.  And we can only speculate how that would have changed their approach to the 2020 season and beyond.

But if you’re looking to take a glass-half-full approach to a 3-13 season, there were some good things to mine from their otherwise terrible season.

Washington looks to have a star wide receiver in the making with third-round pick Terry McLaurin.  Despite the many problems with Washington’s offense, the rookie wideout had a fantastic season accumulating 919 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns in his debut season.

Dwayne Haskins also appeared to start to turn a corner towards the end of the season, as he closed a rocky rookie performance with back-to-back strong outings against Philadelphia and New York.

Washington’s defense also has quietly assembled one of the most formidable defensive lines in the league, and while their secondary struggled immensely in 2019, their front 7 looks to be very sound and not very far off becoming one of the better groups in football.

And hey!  Being this crappy led to Bruce Allen being fired, which immediately improves any situation.

Who Decided Joining This Dumpster Fire was a Good Idea?

PlayerPrevious Team
QB Kyle AllenPanthers
RB Peyton BarberBuccaneers
CB Ronald DarbyEagles
FS Sean DavisSteelers
LB Thomas Davis Sr.Chargers
CB Kendall FullerChiefs
RB J.D. McKissicLions
G Wes SchweitzerFalcons
TE Logan ThomasLions
OL Jeremy VujnovichCardinals

Held Against His Will Due to the Franchise Tag

Player2020 Status
Brandon ScherffSigned tender

Who Got to Escape This Football Wasteland

PlayerNew Team
OT Trent Williams49ers (Trade)
CB Josh NormanBills
CB Quinton DunbarSeahawks (Trade)
G Ereck FlowersDolphins
RB Chris ThompsonJaguars
FB Michael BurtonSaints
TE Vernon DavisN/A (Retired)
TE Jordan Reed49ers
WR Paul RichardsonN/A (Free Agent)
CB D. Rodgers-CromartieN/A (Free Agent)

Daniel Snyder Hired a Respected Football Coach?!

He did!  After eight seasons in Carolina, Ron Rivera was let go by new Panthers ownership looking to rebuild the team.  Somehow, Daniel Snyder was able to convince Ron Rivera to join this clown show of a franchise over any of the other 31 teams!

Rivera’s hiring in Washington was made possible by Jay Gruden doing Jay Gruden things and subsequently getting fired in October after an 0-5 start to the 2019 season.

Rivera’s craft comes on the defensive side of the football, and in Washington he is inheriting one of the most impressive defensive lines in all of football, a unit that got even richer thanks to their first-round selection of Ohio State star Chase Young.

It’s a rarity in the Daniel Snyder regime when he makes a prudent decision to better his football team, but landing Rivera to be the team’s new coach is definitely a step in the right direction.

Daniel Snyder Changed the Team’s Name?!

He did!  To say the political tone in the country has drastically changed in recent months would be vastly underselling the current climate of everything going on, but the team now has a soccer-like “Washington Football Team” name bestowed upon them for the 2020 season until a new permanent nickname is decided.

But now, you will have an NFL team looking like 2K Sports created a football game without licensing rights.

Also, it bears repeating, how in the world do you not call them the “Washington Football Club” Dan?!  That’s a lay-up even the Washington Wizards wouldn’t miss.

*(Ok on second thought, after seeing them play during the NBA Restart, they are 100% capable of missing any form of a lay-up).

Washington Football Team 2020 Offensive Preview

The questions circulating Dwayne Haskins will continue heading into the season, especially now that a new coaching regime has taken over.  The team flirted with the idea of drafting a quarterback, namely eventual Miami Dolphins first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa, and did sign former Carolina Panther Kyle Allen to back him up, but will go into the season with Haskins as the guy.

The leash for Haskins may be quite short, however.

Coming over to Washington with Ron Rivera was ex-Carolina quarterbacks coach Scott Turner to run the Washington Football Team offense in 2020.  Kyle Allen of course is already familiar with this offense, and if Haskins struggles out of the gate, the team could very well turn to Allen to be their starter.

The team also hoped to lean more on the running of young tailback Derrius Guice in 2020.  But then Guice was arrested on domestic violence charges and released by the team.

So now the starting running-back for your Washington Football Team is the ageless Adrian Peterson, with free-agent acquisition Peyton Barber, Bryce Love and rookie Antonio Gibson all in the mix to be his backup.

Adrian Peterson will play an important role in Washington’s offense in 2020.

Other free-agent running back acquisition J.D. McKissic was brought on to replace Chris Thompson as the 3rd down passing game back but now may also see more action in light of Guice’s arrest and removal from the team.

The team finally moved on from injury liabilities Jordan Reed and Paul Richardson, and Vernon Davis elected to retire.  Outside of the aforementioned Terry McLaurin, Washington does not have a whole lot to work within the passing game once again.

The team’s offensive line, which was a major issue a year ago, looks to be heading towards the same precarious position in 2020, as they were unable to retain Erick Flowers and traded Trent Williams without a viable replacement.  They were able to keep hold of Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff with the franchise tag, the only thing saving the Washington offensive line from being a complete disaster.

Washington Football Team 2020 Defensive Preview

While Washington most definitely has enormous questions on the offensive side of the football, defensively the team looks to be heading in the right direction.

The defense got a bit of an overhaul after the Ron Rivera hiring.  Jack Del Rio is back coaching in the NFL for the first time since the Raiders fired him in 2017 to bring on the brother of the former Washington football coach and now I’ve gone crosseyed.

As mentioned before, with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Washington footballers selected former Ohio State phenom Chase Young.  Young is already drawing comparisons to the last defensive end to go No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft… another Carolina Panther, Julius Peppers.

Young becomes the fifth former first-round pick to join the Washington defensive line, joining Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne to form one imposing-looking group of talent.

No. 2 overall pick Chase Young running drills during Washington training camp.

With the logjam on the DL, Rivera will move Chase Young to outside linebacker on passing downs and play a unique form of the 4-3 defense.

Washington also retooled a secondary that finished in the bottom of the league in 2019, bringing Kendall Fuller back to the team after he got to win a ring with Patrick Mahomes.  They also added corner Ronald Darby and safety Sean Davis in free-agency while cutting Josh Norman and trading Quinton Dunbar to Seattle.

The team did not do much at linebacker, as they are banking on Reuben Foster to return from injury (and not get arrested).   They did sign former Panther Thomas Davis though, who has been in the league since roughly 1957.

Washington Football Team 2020 Outlook

Hiring Ron Rivera was a step in the right direction for this football team, and Rivera will inherit a nice foundation of talent on the defensive side of the ball to at the least make games more competitive in 2020 than they were in 2019 when they suffered nine double-digit losses.

The offense leaves way too much to be desired, however, and Washington may very well find themselves in the hunt for the #1 overall pick yet again.  The offensive line is in shambles.  Adrian Peterson is 105 years old.  Dwayne Haskins will have to run for his life and depend on his one wide receiver to get past teams.

It won’t be pretty, but Chase Young will be exciting to see for the team with no name.

Washington 2020 Projection: 3-13, 4th NFC East

2020 Betting Projections
From a betting perspective, we would lean on the following futures bets involving the Washington Football Team

  • NFC East – Exact Order (Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Washington) — (+310) at Fanduel Sportsbook
    Slight spoiler alert to future previews, but I believe this is a two-team race for the NFC East and that the Giants and Redskins will bring up the rear of the division. I am picking the Eagles to win the division essentially here.
  • Terry McLaurin UNDER 1050.5 yards receiving — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Nothing against McLaurin, I just believe the Redskins offense will struggle to move the football in most of their games this season.
  • Washington Football Team UNDER 5 wins — (+118) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    I can’t find five wins on their schedule. Ron Rivera is a good coach, but this would be one amazing coaching job to get Washington at 6-10 or better.
  • Team to win Least Games — (+550) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    I believe this is excellent value on a team that can very easily find itself with the worst record in the NFL.
  • Division Finishing Position, 4th Place — (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Once again, playing the value here.  Though, the Giants are capable of making this interesting.

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