Redskins, Griffin Play Home Opener Vs. Bengals

By: Michael Robinson | Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Washington Redskins have experienced a range of emotions from euphoria to grief in this young NFL season. They hope to see more of the former in their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

The Don Best NFL odds screen has Washington as 3½-4 point favorites with a total of 48½-49. The total has jumped from the 46½ open with the ‘over’ 2-0 for both squads. CBS will broadcast at 1:00 p.m. (ET) from FedEx Field in the home debut for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The euphoria came in Week 1 in New Orleans, a 40-32 win as 8-point ‘dogs. Griffin (320 passing yards, two TDs, 139.9 rating) looked worth every penny the team paid in trading up in the draft to get him.

Things weren’t so rosy last Sunday, a 31-28 loss at St. Louis as 3½-point favorites. Griffin saw his passing numbers cut to 206 yards and one TD, but he also rushed for 82 yards and two TDs. The defense allowed 452 total yards to a Rams offense considered one of the worst in the league.

The real grief came with the injury news. Pass rusher Brian Orakpo (pectoral) and defensive end Adam Carriker (knee) were both lost for the season. Orakpo led the team with nine sacks last year and can’t be replaced by the proposed duo of Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson.  Jarvis Jenkins, a second round pick last year, has a much better chance of replacing Carriker’s production.

Coach Mike Shanahan also has some offensive injury concerns. Tight end Fred Davis (concussion) is doubtful, while leading receiver Pierre Garcon (foot) is questionable after missing last week. Washington doesn’t have a lot of weapons even when everyone is healthy, so keep checking the injury report for the latest.

This home opener is vital to the Redskins after losing their final six games there last year (2-4 ATS). The ‘over’ was 4-0 in the last four of those, and is 7-1-1 in their last nine games overall after the first two this year.

The Bengals are 1-1, just like Washington. A 44-13 whitewashing by Baltimore in their opener was followed by a much more productive 34-27 home win over Cleveland. The latter was as 7-point chalk, dropping them to 0-1-1 against the spread.

Quarterback Andy Dalton had a good performance against Cleveland (24-of-31, 318 yards, 3 TDs) after struggling against the tough Ravens. The pass offense is going to be responsible for most of Cincy’s points as the recently-signed BenJarvus Green Ellis is a solid back, but far from explosive.

Coach Marvin Lewis can’t be happy about his defense ranking 30th in the league (434.5 YPG) so far. Even Cleveland rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 322 yards against them, after not even looking like Pop Warner caliber in his first contest.

Getting defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick to suit up for the first time this year would really help. Both are questionable with knee injuries. Cincinnati really needs to make Griffin pay physically when he scrambles around in the pocket or runs down the field.

This is an interconference matchup with the teams last meeting in 2004 and 2008. Cincinnati won both outright as an underdog and will try to accomplish the feat again.

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