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Falcons fans & Redskins fans both expecting a win; sorry Atlanta...

The Falcons have won two in a row, but haven’t won on the road in 2018. One of those streaks will continue as Atlanta visits FedEx Field on Sunday to take on the NFC East division leading Redskins and their 3-game winning streak.

The FanPulse survey results for Week 9 are in, and they show that Redskins fans are feeling good with their team sitting at 5-2 atop the NFC East. With the Eagles resting up from their London trip, and the Giants resting up from the beating they took at the hands of the Redskins in New Jersey last weekend, the only two division teams in action this week are the Redskins and the Cowboys.

For what it’s worth, Cowboys fans are predicting a 6 point win at home against the Titans, whose fans are picking their team to win by 3. Confidence is a good thing, but someone’s gonna be disappointed.

Atlanta at Washington

Things are similar for Redskins fans and their counterparts from Georgia, though the Hogs Haven readers seem to be feeling much better about their team, and trending up.

Confidence level of Redskins fans:

  • Following the home win against the Panthers: 57%
  • Following the home win against he Cowboys: 76%
  • Following the road win against the Giants: 83%

Meanwhile, as the Falcons fans sat out Week 8 with their team on a BYE, the reality of how bad the Giants and Bucs are must’ve started to set in (those were Atlanta’s only victories in the past 5 games), bolstered by continuing bad news on the injury front. Or maybe it was just the knowledge that the Dirty Birds would have to face the NFL’s 4th ranked defense in the nation’s capital this weekend.

Whatever the reason, the sputtering confidence levels of Falcoholics readers actually took a dip, falling 5 points below the 50% mark during the off-week.

Confidence level of Falcons fans:

  • Following the home win against the Buccaneers: 35%
  • Following the home win against the Giants: 50%
  • Following the BYE week: 45%

That waning confidence didn’t stop the Falcons fans from predicting victory, though by a smaller margin than ‘Skins fans are expecting.

Hogs Haven game prediction: Redskins win by 4 points

The Falcoholics game predictions: Falcons win by 2 points

With both fan bases expecting victory, someone has to be wrong.

Which fan base is better at predicting?

You can see that, after the Redskins overperformed fan expectations in two victories, and underperformed fan expectations in two losses, the team’s performance has closely reflected the expectations of Redskins fans for the past 3 weeks.

  • Week 6 (Panthers) Prediction: 2 point win Actual: 6 point win
  • Week 7 (Cowboys) Prediction: 6 point win Actual: 3 point win
  • Week 8 (@Giants) Prediction: 9 point win Actual: 7 point win

The total projected margin of victory by fans for the three games of 17 points closely matched reality, with the Redskins winning by a combined 16 points over the past three weeks.

Falcons fans spent much of the season overestimating the performance of their team. Only twice this season — in Weeks 2 and 6 — have the Falcons been able to muster a margin of victory that matched or exceeded fan expectations. The past two game results show that the Falcons fans are still struggling to get a handle on what to expect from their team. They actually predicted a loss to to Tampa Bay in Week 6.

  • Week 6 (Buccaneers) Prediction: 1 point loss Actual: 5 point win
  • Week 7 (Giants) Prediction: 6 point win Actual: 3 point win

Bottom line

I like the Redskins’ chances in this game. Redskins fans have proven adept over the past three weeks at predicting both the outcome and the margin of victory, so that prediction of a 4-point win feels pretty good.

Perhaps more significant is the fact that the Falcons haven’t managed a road win in 2018. They lost to the Eagles and the Steelers on the road (as well as the Saints and Bengals at home).

The Redskins defense is ranked 4th in yards allowed per game and 5th in points allowed per game. The 7th ranked Philadelphia Eagles defense held the Falcons to 12 points on the road, while the 16th ranked Steelers defense limited Matt Ryan and his offense to 17 points in Pittsburgh.

Defensively, the Falcons will be hampered by the loss of Robert Alford to an ankle injury. Also out is kicker Matt Bryant. Kicking outdoors off of the FedEx turf will be Giorgio Tavecchio. The bad news for Redskins fans is that Tavecchio didn’t miss a kick against the Giants, scoring 3 field goals and 2 extra points. Of course, that was at home in the dome. Tevecchio, when he was with the Raiders last year, hit just 76% of his field goals (though he was perfect against the Redskins, kicking 1 FG and 1 PAT in the Sunday Night prime-time beatdown the Redskins laid on Oakland).

With the Redskins defense playing lights out against everyone except the Saints, Adrian Peterson at age 33 on track to gain 1,300+ yards and adding to his living legend status, and receivers like Doctson and Reed showing signs of improving connection with Alex Smith, this looks like a good opportunity for the Redskins to move to 6-2, cementing a 2-game lead over the Eagles in the division.