- Given the storm battering the east coast and some folks on the move this week, I will be doing tonight’s show solo from the basement. I wanted to solicit your help with a fresh batch of Over/Unders to discuss. Question marks are running rampant through the sports world, so why shouldn’t your guesses be as good as anyone else’s? Let’s start with a nice, easy, non-controversial one: Total touchdown passes by Dwayne Haskins. I kid...but seriously, the number is 19. That sits right at or below the median last year—23 quarterbacks threw for more than that last year, so I am not in any way being homeristic here. Kyle Allen, the young backup-backup in town, threw for 17 himself in limited action in “this offense” last season for Scott Turner. Haskins threw seven touchdown passes with seven games started (he appeared in nine), it wouldn’t be the most shocking result if Haskins is able to find pay dirt at least once most days and two or three times on a few others. I will take the over for two main reasons: one, I think Alex Smith will ride off into the sunset and the team will dedicate this season to finding out what they have in the Ohio State product, and two, I think Haskins is going to take chances. He will look downfield for Terry McLaurin, and Scary Terry is going to get his. As much as I think Scott Turner will do everything in his power to establish a running game, I think that our offense is going to throw to running backs in the red zone and count on them to get it into the end zone. Long story short, 20 touchdowns won’t be setting the world on fire, but I do see it happening for our boy.
- Speaking of Terry McLaurin and his promise, let’s put an Over/Under on his total receptions. He bagged 58 in 2019, good for just outside the top 50 wide receivers in the league (top 50 receptions). He was inside the top 50 receivers in terms of targets, and with the injury to Kelvin Harmon, it stands to reason, he should get in that 100-target range again (93 in 2019). The Over/Under for the purpose of this conversation is 70 receptions, which is where I begin to be torn. On the one hand, McLaurin is our guy, and will be asked to carry the load in the passing game. On the other hand, our opponents know this. Given a lack of offensive firepower on the field for us, it seems plausible that defensive coordinators could take Terry away. I’ll still take the over, because I think there will be a couple days where Terry racks up a lot of short passes designed to simply get him the ball. That won’t work every week, but if he has one or two games with 9 or 10 catches, it makes the rest of the work a little easier to spread out. This one should be close though.
- I can’t mention targets/touches without going with an Antonio Gibson Over/Under. Fans are all over the map when it comes to his usage in this offense. Anytime you hear that someone is going to “get the Christian McCaffrey” plays in this offense, your ears have to perk up. Is it possible that our third round playmaker will be on the field enough to crack double-digit touches each week? Is there anyone out there willing to take the Over on 160 total touches (on offense) this season? The top 25 running backs all got more attempts last season, and Gibson won’t be in line for starting running back touches anyway. He will be looking to augment his production in the passing game. Echoing a point made above—we are short on weapons, so even if you think our running back room is full, Gibson seems (to me) to fill a role not held by anyone else on this team. Give me the Over.
- Speaking of running backs, Derrius Guice is coming back healthy and will be looking to headline a rushing attack. Let’s put the Over/Under at 1,000 rushing yards on the season, if for no other reason than out of respect for old traditions. Just so everyone can witness me doing something that at least seems to make sense on its face, I’ll take the Under. I mean, OF COURSE I think he is capable of racking up a measly 63 yards per game on the ground. The issue is that he has yet to play a season in this league, having only officially started one game. For those of you willing to fill in the gap here, and take the Over, you know that this Washington offense is going to try as hard as it possibly can to get first downs on the ground and to eat up clock. We MUST help our defense by not asking them to play 40+minutes per game. If Guice can stay healthy, and if Turner can put in some of the same run principles he had working in Carolina, then no...it is not unrealistic to think #29 can put up a modest 1,000 yards.
- The defense is going to have to lead the way for the team this year if we are to have any chance of...of well, anything. Getting to the quarterback is a priority for every defensive line, but with five first-round picks up front, the burgundy and gold are going to need to excel like few teams. This Over/Under is all about our most recent first-rounder, Chase Young. The local product’s game is ready to plug and play, so we expect him to bring down the opposing signal-caller early and often. There were 18 guys who got double-digit sacks last season, and the Bosa brothers averaged double-digits between them. As much as I want to throw a big number out there, let’s sit right down on that 10 number for the Over/Under. One thing that we have seen in Washington is guys have multi-sack games...so perhaps Chase will get there on the basis of a couple lopsided matchups. I’ll take the Over. Long Live Chase Young!
- The last one is a bit more close to the heart. As I watch the MLB struggle to keep their season afloat outside of a bubble, I have genuine concerns about the NFL pulling this off. Players are opting out left and right, and the league has been somewhat mum on what the critical mass of opt-outs will be before they have to address it. I mean, obviously the Patriots are tanking for Trevor Lawrence, but as more and more offensive and defensive linemen opt out, the complexion on this season is kind of changing in front of our eyes. So my Over/Under is 15.5...as in over or under 15 games played. I want to know where you all stand on whether you think we will get a full season in this year. So if you think they will modify things or outright cancel things, you have to take the Under. As for me, I will stick with the Over because I still think the NFL is going to power through, but there are cracks starting to appear in the armor.
It’s Over/Under for the Sixpack...