Monday Night Football features the Washington Redskins playing host to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12. Oddsmakers have set the 49ers 4.5-point road favorites.
In order to get an inside look into this matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers David Fucillo of San Francisco blog “Niners Nation” and Kevin Ewoldt from Washington blog “Hogs Haven” strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY SAN FRANCISCO WILL COVER
David Fucillo is an editor for Niners Nation. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @NinersNation.
Ground and pound
Their offensive line dominates Washington's defensive front. The 49ers are built as a power rushing team. Colin Kaepernick has the skill to do a lot of things in the passing attack, but first and foremost, this is a ground team. The 49ers will need to control the line of scrimmage and Frank Gore will need to roll over Washington's defense.
The pass rush will need to keep Robert Griffin III flustered. RG3 has had numerous issues this season, but he has proven he can still pick apart a defense if he gets time to find his receivers. The 49ers can cover if they keep him off-balance and force him to make mistakes. The 49ers dominate on points off turnovers, so forcing RG3 to make mistakes is key.
Get Vernon the ball
Colin Kaepernick needs to find Vernon Davis. The 49ers are a power rushing team, but there has to be some semblance of a passing game to keep the opposing defense off balance. Until Michael Crabtree returns, Vernon Davis is the guy who makes things go in the passing game. Opposing defenses are double and triple teaming him at times, so the 49ers need to figure out new ways to get him the ball.
WHY WASHINGTON WILL COVER
Kevin Ewoldt is the Managing Editor for Hogs Haven. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @HogsHaven.
Convert on third down
The Redskins have the No. 1 rushing offense (yards per carry) in the NFL and are top five in converting three third downs. If they can keep that trend going and keep their defense off the field, SF bettors will be worried until the final whistle.
Niners' lack of pass rush
The Redskins offensive line has been a sore point the last few weeks. As good as the Niners defense has been, interestingly they rank 27th in the NFL with only 21 sacks. A lack of pass rush should help the Redskins offense keep the time of possession in their favor.
Home sweet home
The 0.0003 percent chance the second team bus for the 49ers (with all the starters) gets stuck in traffic on the beltway and misses the game. Fedex Field is located right off the beltway and D.C. Monday rush hour traffic is worthy of its' own circle of hell in Dante's Inferno. But there's always at least one or two stats to hang my hat on when handicapping Redskins games but this week is especially challenging. As bad as the Redskins have been this year, they are 2-2 against the spread at home and 2-1 versus teams with winning records, so that warrants some attention.