The Washington Commanders play host to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon in a crucial NFC showdown from FedExField in Landover, MD. Both of these teams come into this one searching for a win to keep their playoff hopes intact, meaning it should be a close one. For the Falcons, a win last week helped them snap their two-game losing skid and right the ship. For the Commanders, back-to-back wins and five wins in their last six, have them riding their own momentum. Washington grabbed the win when these two squared off last season, so the Falcons will certainly be looking for revenge on Sunday.
Falcons Back On Winning PathFor Atlanta, a strong start to the season saw them give way to back-to-back losses and losses in three of four games. A win against Chicago helped to right the ship and keep them alive in the NFC South race. The more pressing concern is how the Falcons have fared away from home this season, where they have a 1-4 record. Washington certainly isn't the most daunting opponent but with road games having caused issues all season long for this group, it's difficult to know if they're going to be able to flip a switch in this one.
The Falcons have had a rotating door of injuries to deal with as well, which hasn't helped matters when it comes to consistency. Kyle Pitts (knee) is a massive absence at tight end, especially given how thin Atlanta already is at that position. Defensively, there are a few absences on the line, though they should have enough depth and enough in the tank to overcome and make life tough for Washington in this one.
We have made the following moves:— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 24, 2022
- Signed Frank Darby to our 53-man roster
- Signed Parker Ferguson to the PS
- Signed Emeka Emezie to the PS
- Released Bryan Edwards
Atlanta's offense has left quite a bit to be desired all season, though the running game will continue to give them a chance on a weekly basis. The Falcons have the league's third-best ground game and they've been doing it with depth. Adding in Cordarelle Patterson rounding back into form, and the battle should be interesting against Washington's top-ten-ranked rushing defense. Not to be forgotten is how strong Marcus Mariota has been this season, not on the ground and through the air, though being without Pitts could certainly set this aerial attack back.
Commanders Looking StrongThere might not be an NFC team playing better right now than Washington and they'll be hoping to keep that going into Sunday. Sitting at 6-5, they still probably started a little too slow to find their way into the NFC East race, though getting into the playoffs still seems plenty possible. The Commanders have two wins in a row, including handing Philadelphia their first loss, while they've won five of their last six overall. With four of those wins coming on the road, there's no doubt that this group will be happy to be back home. Atlanta will be a tough test, especially when compared to facing Houston last week, but this group certainly seems up to the challenge.
Washington continues to be without Carson Wentz (finger), though his absence and the change at quarterback have only seemed to invigorate this group. The defensive injuries seem to be much more concerning. David Mayo (hamstring) seems ready to go, while Benjamin St. Juste (ankle) is a name to keep an eye on in the secondary. Chase Young (knee) is the most impactful name on there and with a questionable designation, it's interesting to see what he can do in warmups.
Washington's defense is what will keep them alive in this one and has been the mainstay of their success lately. Even without Young, they've been able to put together some daunting numbers. Ranked sixth in the league in total defense and 12th against the pass, all eyes will be on how this ground stands up against the run. The Falcons will want to control this game on the ground but if Washington can clog up their running lanes, it should take quite a bit of pressure off their own offense.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a matchup primed for Washington to find success and there's little doubt that they'll find the win. The Commanders are riding quite a bit of confidence and momentum in this one, but the defense will be the difference for them. With the league's sixth-ranked rushing defense, they are built perfectly to slow down Atlanta on the ground, and by stopping them on the ground, they are bound to find success in this one. Being with Pitts will hurt Atlanta through the air as well and being on the road will be the final hurdle that the Falcons will be unable to overcome. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Commanders are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both of these teams lack the offensive firepower to be explosive in this one, which is sure to drive down scoring. In fact, this might be one of the lowest scorings on the NFL slate for this weekend. For the Falcons, they'll be looking to run the ball early and often, and with Washington's defensive strength, it should be a challenge. Washington, they have some talents at wide receiver, but Heinicke at quarterback limits how explosive they can be with those talents. Additionally, according to covers.com, the under is 8-2 for Atlanta in their last ten games following a straight-up win.