Week 5’s Monday Night Football features an NFC matchup between the Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints on October 7 at 8:15 pm EST at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA and broadcasted on ESPN.
The 2-1 Washington Redskins are coming off a bye week, so the fact that they’ll arrive at the Superdome well rested should be a good thing. History, however, disagrees. The Redskins are 0-3 (both straight up and against the spread) in road games when coming off a bye – and they lost all three of those games by 14 points or more.
Washington is coming off a Week 3 spanking of Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers 31-17, so right now they’re not exactly intimidated to face a franchise hero and his reputation. Except in New Orleans, their main man, quarterback Drew Brees, is having an entirely different year than Rodgers.
Brees and his 3-1 New Orleans Saints are looking for their fourth victory in a row against the Skins, and the way the Saints’ offense is rolling these days, it’s a great bet that they’re going to get it done. They’re averaging 418.2 total yards per game, fourth best, and they’re scoring an average of 34.2 points per game, and only two teams (Chiefs and Rams) have scored more.
And the most incredible part?
The Saints have been doing it without running back Mark Ingram (suspension) and relying on their second-year back Alvin Kamara, who ran 124 yards last week against the Giants and scored 3 touchdowns. Ingram is back for this Week 5 showdown, so the Saints’ run game will certainly be featured.
If the Redskins win this game, they’ll shock the world, prove their new quarterback Alex Smith is the real deal and stay tied atop the NFC East with Dallas or take the divisional lead, depending on how the Cowboys do against the 1-3 Texans in Week 5. But if the Saints win this one, and they should, they’ll continue to rule the NFC South by at least a game over Carolina and prove all the pre-season hype to be true.
Who’s favored to win this Week 5 Redskins-Saints matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Redskins and the Saints and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Redskins offense has been ineffective
Everyone predicted that with the arrival of quarterback Alex Smith, the Redskins’ offensive production would be the least of their worries. Turns out they were wrong. Smiths’ offense is 28th in the league right now, and that low ranking has everything to do with the passing game.
Smith averages 245.3 passing yards per game, and they’ve only been able to score 21.3 points per game, but against the Saints’ pass defense, ranked 30th in the league, this might be a good game to turn things around.
Running back Adrian Peterson has kept the Redskins’ fifth ranked rushing attack effective, he and his backups running for 137.7 total yards per game. They’ll face a Saints’ run defense that’s third best in the league, allowing only 79.5 rushing yards per game.
Injuries continue to be a factor against the Redskins, having listed 11 players on their Week 5 injury report.
The 2018 Saints offense just getting started
The Saints’ offense is now officially warmed up. The football world got nervous when the Saints lost to Tampa Bay in Week 1 (who knew back then that the Bucs were good?) and even more doubtful when Brees and his boys barely squeaked by the Browns in Week 2 (who knew back then the Browns would be competitive?).
But now, after three wins in a row (including a firm handling of the Giants last week, 33-18), the Saints offense looks as powerful as predicted. Wide receivers Michael Thomas Ted Ginn Jr. and Cameron Meredith continue to impress, racking up a combined 313.8 yards per game.
And Kamara has been nothing short of impressive – rushing for 68.8 yards per game and 5 touchdowns while catching for 336 yards and another TD. Add to the mix the returning (and well-rested) Ingram and the duo should be unstoppable.
Redskins Defense ranks 3rd, Saints D ranks 24th in the league
The difference in their defensive effectiveness is what can make this game go either way.
The Redskins’ 3rd ranked defense only allows 187.3 yards thrown against them, but have only intercepted 3 passes. Washington only allows opponents to rush 90.7 yards against them, but they’ve only sacked opponent’s quarterbacks 7.0 times.
On the other side of the coin is the Saints defense – ranked 24th overall, but 30th against the pass (311.0 yards per game) but third against the rush (79.5 yards per game). They’ve only intercepted one pass and had 9.0 sacks, so Smith should have free reign in this game.
They say the better defense wins football games, which favors the Skins, but when it’s against future hall-of-famer Drew Brees at home, a better offense might just do the trick.
Special teams’ stats
Washington’s punter, Tress Way, is a 5-year pro who has punted 14 times for a net average of 37.9 yards per punt, ranked 26th in the NFL.
New Orleans’s veteran punter, Thomas Morstead, is in his tenth year and has punted 13 times for a net average of 44.7 yards per punt, ranked first in the league.
Washington’s placekicker, Dustin Hopkins, is in his fourth season and has gone 5-for-6, his longest was a 49-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (7/7).
New Orleans’s placekicker since 2016, Wil Lutz, is 10-for-11, his longest was a 49-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (11/11).
Washington’s kick returner, Greg Stroman, is ranked 47th in the league. He’s returned 2 kicks for 34 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 17.0 yards per return, his longest being 18 yards.
New Orleans’s kick returner, Tayson Hill, is ranked 15th in the league. He’s returned 5 kicks for 127 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 25.4 yards per return, his longest being 47 yards. Last week against the Giants, the Saints faked a punt and direct snapped to Hill, who threw a pass to get the first Saints first down of the game.
Redskins-Saints prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Redskins favored over the Saints by 6.5 with an over/under of 52.5.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Saints 23, Redskins 20
John Breech takes the over and predicts it will be Redskins 30, Saints 23