The Atlanta Falcons will host the Washington Redskins in week three preseason action Thursday night from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Redskins came up short in a 23-13 home loss to the Bengals last Thursday night, and the Falcons are coming off a 22-10 home loss to the Jets. The Falcons tallied a 38-14 win against the Redskins last November.
Redskins Target First Preseason Win
The Washington Redskins will be searching for their first preseason win in this one. They lost 30-10 in Cleveland in the opener followed by a 23-13 home loss to the Bengals last week. Washington could have a battle for the #1 QB unfolding this season. Case Keenum is expected to win the starting role, however, Dwayne Haskins might have something to say about that. Haskins, who was drafted in the first round this summer, converted on 7 of 14 passes last week after throwing two interceptions in his debut. Keenum is an established veteran who posted a subpar 18:15 TD to INT ratio last year. The seven-year veteran quarterback should see a good chunk of playing time in this one.
The apparent favorite of head coach Jay Gruden is Colt McCoy. But the former Texas star has been unable to stay healthy this year and throughout his career. He suffered a broken tibia last December and had multiple surgeries to try and fix the issue.
“It’s not good for Colt obviously but like I said, what’s most important for Colt is to get that [leg] to where he can fire off of it, push off of it. It’s his right leg, so he’s not getting enough fire off of it push off of it and until he feels like he’s 100 percent doing that, I’m not going to put him back there,” Gruden said on Sunday.
The Redskins feature a ton of depth at the RB position led by veteran Adrian Peterson who rushed for 31 yards on four carries last week. Derrius Guice, who is expected be the #2 RB, has yet to play as he recovers from a torn ACL, and it does not sound like he will suit up in this one. This leaves way for Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine to see action.
“It’s important for him (Guice) to get a couple carries, just get the feel of getting tackled again,” Gruden said. “Would love to see that happen. Coming off an injury, I don’t want the first carry for him to be against Philadelphia [in the regular season opener]. I’d like to get him a couple of carries, get a little sweat going, feel the contact and get used to getting taken to the ground, protecting the football.”
— NFL (@NFL) August 15, 2019
Washington does not have a strong receiving group. They are led by Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson who recorded 262 receiving yards last year. Richarson is dealing with a minor injury and it is unknown if he will suit up. They are strong at tight end led by Jordan Reed who has yet to suit in the two preseason games.
The Redskins scored an average of only 17.6 points last season, positioning them down at 29th in the NFL. Washington held opponents to 22.4 points, pegging them in the middle at 15th overall.
Matt Ryan Sees First Action in Loss to Jets
The Atlanta Falcons have lost all three preseason games however Matt Ryan has only seen action in one game. Ryan made his season debut in a 22-10 home loss to the Jets last week. The veteran QB was solid, connecting on 10 of 14 passes for 71 yards. Ryan posted a terrific 35:7 TD to INT ratio in 2019. Falcons backup QB Matt Schaub rebounded with a solid performance against the Jets after struggling in the first two contests which includes the Hall of Fame game. The 38-year old QB completed 8 of 10 passes for 80 yards last week, although he has not tallied a TD pass in this preseason.
Falcons #1 RB Devonta Freeman only saw one carry last week, although look for the veteran to see extended action in this one. Atlanta has solid depth on the ground which includes Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison who are battling for the #2 role behind Freeman. Ollison rushed for 44 yards on nine carries last week, while Smith tallied 13 yards.
Freeman is coming off knee, groin and sports hernia surgery that caused him to miss 14 of 16 games last season. Don’t expect him to see a lot of time.
“I do (have time allotted for Freeman),” head coach Dan Quinn said. “Each of the guys, it’s individual. For him, it’s getting some of the game action. Even if it’s a small amount, it’s worth it.”
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 16, 2019
Star receiver Julio Jones is recovering from a foot injury and he has stated he will not suit up in any preseason games. The 30-year old receiver will be ready for week one. Second-year WR Calvin Ridley also saw his first preseason action last week after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. Ridley had a big rookie year that resulted in 821 receiving yards as the Falcons #2 receiver behind Jones.
Last season the Falcons scored an average of 25.9 points, ranking them 10th in the NFL. The Atlanta defense allowed an average of 26.4 points, positioning them down at 25th overall.
Good news on the offensive line as left guard James Carpenter is back after missing the first two preseason games due to a hip flexor injury. First-round pick Kaleb McGary is also coming back to limited action after undergoing a cardiac ablation procedure.
“You’ll see McGary in some individual [drills],” head coach Dan Quinn said. “He won’t play in our game this week, but it certainly will be good to have him back going into the week and starting his preparation to return. We don’t have a timeline or a timetable on that, but our general return to play guidelines will be in effect.”
The Washington Redskins are:
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against the NFC.
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games.