Game time: 1 p.m. ET, Oct. 3, 2021
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Where to watch: FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Washington -1.5; O/U 47; Washington -130, Falcons +110
BetMGM: Washington -1.5; O/U 47.5; Washington -120, Falcons +100
Caesars: Washington -1.5; O/U 48.5; Washington -120, Falcons +100
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Washington - Falcons preview and analysis
Washington: lost 43-21 at Bills in Week 3
Falcons: won 17-14 at Giants in Week 3
Washington vs. Falcons
If you are a fan of two teams that have no idea what they are yet, you're in luck when the Washington Football Team visits the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
We're talking two completely different points of view from this past week. The Falcons rallied from two touchdowns down, on the road against the lowly New York Giants, to win on a field goal at the buzzer.
The Falcons are still trying to find a groove under new head coach Arthur Smith. After getting blasted by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, points were put up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. No one told them that they had to stop Tom Brady and co., however.
But Matt Ryan definitely improved against the Giants, throwing for 243 yards and two touchdowns while also not throwing an interception. The former NFL MVP has at least two touchdown passes in five of his last six games. And if the Washington defense is anything like it was in 2018 when Ryan last faced that unit, he'll be having fun. Ryan threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns in November 2018 at FedEx Field.
The Falcons' offense is dictated by how consistent Ryan can be. Fortunately he has weapons around him, but it's going to take some time. Calvin Ridley had a team-high eight receptions for 61 yards for his 10th consecutive game of at least five catches. While the Falcons continue to integrate Kyle Pitts into the offense, Cordarrele Patterson (13 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD) has been a surprising contributor.
No doubt the Falcons can put up some points, and will need to find a way to do so against this suddenly struggling Washington defense. Ron Rivera's unit gave up 43 to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and has registered only two takeaways through three games.
This defensive line should have more than six sacks through three games. Three of them have come from defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, and two of them from defensive end Montez Sweat. One guy you don't see with a sack? Last year's defensive rookie of the year, Chase Young. He has nine tackles in three games, but has a tackle for loss in two of his last three.
That defense isn't right at the moment and considering Washington is already hampered by throwing quarterback Taylor Heinicke out there, that defense needs to come through and get to Ryan.
That being said, I don't think they can do it. It's not just the fact the defense gave up 43 to Buffalo last week, but completely bombing against the New York Giants two weeks ago didn't help. The Falcons aren't there yet, but it'll help facing a defense that has too many questions right now. Falcons by 13
Washington is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven as a favorite.
The Falcons are 3-3 in their last six ATS as a home dog.
Players to watch
Washington: For as long as Heinicke is at quarterback, Washington has to find a way to get the ball to Antonio Gibson more. The running back had 104 yards from scrimmage last week, including a 73-yard touchdown reception.
Falcons: Running back Mike Davis is looking for his fourth consecutive game of 60 yards or more from scrimmage. He had a rushing touchdown with the Carolina Panthers the last time he faced Washington last December.
Passing: Taylor Heinicke -- 670 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Antonio Gibson -- 190 yards
Receiving: Terry McLaurin -- 231 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Jonathan Allen -- 3 sacks
Passing: Matt Ryan -- 707 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis -- 137 yards
Receiving: Calvin Ridley -- 175 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Dante Fowler -- 2 sacks
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