The New England Patriots will kick off their 2018 preseason schedule with a home date against the Washington Redskins Thursday night from Gillette Stadium. The Redskins went 2-2 in preseason action last year, and 7-9 in the regular season. The Patriots went 1-3 in their 2017 preseason, and 13-3 record in the regular season, followed by a loss to the Eagles in the Superbowl.
Alex Smith Replaces Cousins as New QB
The Washington Redskins are coming off a disappointing 7-9 season that resulted in the departure of Kirk Cousins. The Redskins acquired Alex Smith in an offseason trade with the Chiefs to replace Cousins who signed a historic deal with the Vikings. Smith had a career-year with the Chiefs last season, collecting 4042 passing yards with a 26:5 TD to INT ratio. Jordan Reed will play a huge role in the Redskins receiving game this year. The 28-year old tight end only played in six games last season due to injury, and it is crucial he stays healthy. The Redskins running game will have a different look with second round pick Derrius Guice expected to claim the starting running back role.
The first preseason game will see little of the starters, meaning Redskins backup QB Colt McCoy and third-stringer Kevin Hogan will both see a good chunk of playing time. McCoy has plenty of NFL experience and he owns a 26:23 TD to INT ratio in 35 career NFL games. Hogan may not make the final roster as Washington will likely only carry two quarterbacks, unless he makes a great impression in preseason. Last season the Redskins averaged 21.4 points per game, ranking them in the middle at 16th overall. The Washington defense struggled last season, allowing an average of 24.3 points, placing down at 27th in the NFL.
Patriots Poised for Another Superbowl Run
The New England Patriots dealt with a ton of speculation throughout the offseason regarding Belicheck and Gronkowski, however both are back. Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in the NFL at the age of 40. The 19-year veteran QB amassed 4577 passing yards with a 32:8 TD to INT ratio in 16 games last season. There was talk that Rob Gronkowski was pondering retirement, however the nine-year veteran tight end is back after registering 1084 receiving yards last season. Rex Burkhead and first round draft pick Sony Michel will lead at the attack on the ground this season. Michel is expected to receive a good chunk of playing time this season. The 23-year old running back out of Georgia was injured in training camp and it is unclear if he will suit up for this preseason tilt.
Tom Brady will see little, if any action in this contest. Backup QB Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling will share the action. Hoyer is a solid option for a backup QB with ample NFL experience. He posted a 4:4 TD to INT ratio in six games with the 49ers last season. Former LSU QB Danny Etling will make his NFL debut in this one. Etling was drafted in the seventh round in this year’s draft. The Patriots were an offensive powerhouse last season, ranking second in the NFL with an average of 28.6 points per game. The New England defense limited opponents to an average of only 18.5 points per game in 2017, placing them fifth in the NFL.
The New England Patriots are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 preseason games.
The Washington Redskins are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 preseason games.