The Washington Commanders are heading to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in this NFC matchup. The Falcons are coming off a win over the Houston Texans while the Commanders just lost a disappointing game to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the predictions, odds and best bet for this matchup.
Washington Commanders Vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction
It’s a battle of two second-year quarterbacks this weekend as Falcons QB Desmond Ridder takes on Commanders QB Sam Howell. Ridder and Howell have both seen their share of ups and downs through five weeks after not getting the opportunity to start until late in their rookie seasons.
Ridder got some of the criticism off his back when he helped lead the Falcons to a 21-19 win over the Texans. The former third-round quarterback taken out of Cincinnati put up his first career 300-yard passing day when he completed 75.7% of his passes for 329 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Ridder did a better job at distributing the ball to his weapons, including Drake London and Kyle Pitts. If Ridder can make this performance consistent, he could have a shot at keeping the starting quarterback job.
Meanwhile, Sam Howell has shown absolutely no fear as the Commanders quarterback. Despite playing behind one of the worse offensive lines in the league and taking an NFL-high 29 sacks, Howell continues to take shots down the field. Sometimes his fearless style of play gets him into trouble when he takes a sack or turns the ball over, but it also allows him to make huge throws down the field or into tight coverages.
55 seconds of fun Sam Howell throws pic.twitter.com/Qhk6h1ACuv
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 10, 2023
Outside of the young quarterbacks, there are several other factors which will determine the outcome of this game. Beyond the Falcons run game, the defense has carried the team. The Falcons are Top 10 in the NFL in total yards, passing yards and points per game. Even with Atlanta having a stingy defense, one thing that bodes well for the Commanders is Atlanta does not get to the quarterback often. Howell may be the most sacked quarterback in the NFL, but the Falcons haven’t had more than two sacks in a game this season. In two of the Falcons’ past three games, they haven’t even recorded a single game.
Regardless of player and scheme matchups, the Falcons home field advantage cannot be ignored. The Falcons are undefeated at home which has allowed them to start the year 3-2. However, the Commanders will be the more rested team coming off a Thursday game which gives them 10 days of rest.
Even if the Falcons are expected to win, it’s hard to know for sure that they will cover the spread. Atlanta’s last two wins were by two points or less, which would not be enough to cover here. The Commanders may be coming off three straight losses, but it’s not a good idea to count them out. I’ll take the Commanders to cover. I expect the Falcons to win, but could see the game going either way.
Washington Commanders Vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction: Commanders +2.5
Washington Commanders Vs. Atlanta Falcons Best Odds
The Falcons are -2.5 favorites at home over the Commanders. Home field advantage is a big factor in why the Falcons are favored, since Atlanta plays way better at home. The over/under is a low 42.
Oct. 15, 12:00 PM Spread Moneyline Total Odds updated October 15th, 2023, at 2:52 pm
WAS @ ATL
Oct. 15, 12:00 PM
Odds updated October 15th, 2023, at 2:52 pm
Washington Commanders Vs. Atlanta Falcons Key Injuries
The Falcons had several players limited during Wednesday’s practice. Right tackle Kaleb McGary, tight end Jonnu Smith and edge rusher Bud Dupree all were limited. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell did not practice and instead had a rest day.
On the Commanders side, both left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and wide receiver Curtis Samuel were able to practice fully despite dealing with finger injuries. Tight end Curtis Hodges and cornerback Christian Holmes did not practice.
Washington Commanders vs Atlanta Falcons Key Matchups
The Falcons will have an easy edge over the Commanders if they take advantage of Washington’s bottom-10 run defense.
Falcons Run Game Vs. Commanders Run Defense
The Arthur Smith-led Falcons are known for their run offense, now led by rookie running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson is currently tied for eighth in the NFL in rushing yards with 364 yards on the season. Though Robinson only put up 46 yards on the ground in their win over the Texans, he’ll face a much better opportunity for a big day versus the Commanders defensive line. The Commanders have the ninth-worst run defense through five weeks, giving up 133.6 yards per game. In their loss to the Bears last week, they gave up 178 rushing yards.