Friday, November 2, 2012
For a game between two losing teams, Sunday should be a lot of fun. That's primarily because we can watch two young quarterbacks -- Washington's Robert Griffin III, shown above, and Carolina's Cam Newton -- as they try to one-up each other.
Griffin and Newton have very similar skill sets, although Newton is a lot bigger. Griffin's hype very much matches Newton's from a year ago -- there's nothing like a rookie coming in and dazzling people to get ESPN all aflutter. Watching him play against a Panther defense that is very used to mobile quarterbacks, having faced Newton every day, will be cool. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will be particularly important for Carolina Sunday, because he's one of the few people in the Panthers' front seven who can keep up with Griffin in the open field.
-- There is far more at stake Sunday than a simple football victory. According to the "Redskins Rule" -- which has proven true in 17 of the 18 presidential elections contested since the Redskins moved to Washington in 1937 -- a Redskins win in the team's final home game before Election Day has meant a win for the incumbent party occupying the White House. A Redskins loss has meant a victory for the challenging party.
The rule didn't work out in 2004, but has every other time. Remarkable, isn't it? So if Washington wins, the "Redskins Rule" says that Barack Obama wins another four years on Tuesday. If the Panthers win, expect Mitt Romney to become the next president.
-- You've gotta love this: According to a story in The Washington Post, Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris still drives a silver 1991 Mazda 626 with 124,000 miles on it. The pastor at his church sold it to him for two dollars.
-- Expect a high-scoring game, because that's the kind the Redskins usually play. The short version of the Washington scouting report: great offense, terrible defense. The Redskins are dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, and if Steve Smith doesn't get 100 yards receiving Sunday I will be very surprised. But the Redskins have a strong offense and one that is a lot more balanced than Carolina's because the run is mixed in so effectively.
-- The 1-6 Panthers have made an art out of losing close games this season, having lost their past four by a total of 12 points. I foresee the trend continuing. My predictions haven't been very good this season on the Panthers -- I am 3-4 picking their games because I have trusted them too often. Not this time: Washington 27, Carolina 24.
Posted by Scott Fowler at 10:43 AM