Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season is upon us, and a cross-divisional NFC matchup takes place in the heart of Glendale. The Arizona Cardinals are hosting the Alex Smith-led Washington Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9th at 1:00pm EST.
Redskins vs Cardinals Statistical Comparison
|324.9 (15th)||Yards Per Game||314.1 (22nd)|
|90.5 (28th)||Rushing Yards Per Game||86.6 (30th)|
|234.4 (12th)||Passing Yards Per Game||227.5 (15th)|
|21.4 (16th)||Points Per Game||18.4 (25th)|
|347.9 (21st)||Yards Per Game Allowed||310.9 (6th)|
|134.1 (32nd)||Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed||89.6 (6th)|
|213.8 (9th)||Passing Yards Per Game Allowed||221.3 (14th)|
|-4 (T23rd)||Turnover Differential||-4 (T23rd)|
*Stats are from the 2017 NFL season
Washington Redskins 2018 Outlook
The Washington Redskins spent three years with Kirk Cousins as their quarterback, and following a 7-9 season they decided to move forward in a different direction. Cousins had a strong season, throwing for 4,093 yards with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 27-13.
Not much went right for the Jay Gruden’s Redskins in 2017. They suffered a bunch of injuries early on, and did not benefit from one of the league’s toughest schedules. After coming off the bye week with a 2-2 record, they lost seven of their final 12 games.
Running back Chris Thompson was one of few bright spots for this team, catching a lot of balls out of the backfield and showing home-run capability before he went down with an injury.
Washington never seemed to want to ‘marry’ Kirk Cousins, only date him. Now leaving him for someone else. https://t.co/Euo6luhMgR
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) January 31, 2018
Alex Smith was brought in to help bring stability to the offense. They also paid former Seahawks WR Paul Richardson big money to add an extra presence on the outside.
Washington also drafted a strong running back in Derrius Guice to be their horse, but he suffered an ACL injury in the preseason that will sideline him for the entire season.
A key point that the Redskins will need to improve on is their turnover differential. They were tied for 23rd in the league and that is a big reason they brought in the reliable Smith from Kansas City.
The other big factor is that they are in a division that is stacked with great running backs. They sat dead last in rushing yards allowed in 2017, giving up a whopping 134.1 yards per game on the ground.
Redskins Key 2018 Additions/Departures
|Redskins Additions||Redskins Departures|
|Alex Smith (QB)||Kirk Cousins (QB)|
|Paul Richardson (WR)||Kendall Fuller (CB)|
|Adrian Peterson (RB)|
|Da’Ron Payne (DT)|
Arizona Cardinals 2018 Outlook
The Arizona Cardinals are looking into the 2018 season with hopes of remaining healthy. Last season, the team’s best offensive weapon, running back David Johnson, played just one game before going down with an injury.
They also lost quarterback Carson Palmer early into the season and had to shuffle between Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, and Matt Barkley.
They head into this season with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen behind veterans Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. They will have David Johnson fresh after missing all of last year, and the timeless wonder Larry Fitzgerald is back for another season.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 2, 2018
Their defense took a big blow when they let free safety Tyrann Mathieu walk in free agency, signing in Houston. But new head coach Steve Wilks plans on using much more zone, which should make his absence less noticeable, and standout second-year safety Budda Baker is helping ease the blow, too.
Wilks is also expected to ask his defense to bring more pressure, as his Panthers defense led the league in blitz percentage last season.
Cardinals Key 2018 Additions/Departures
|Cardinals Additions||Cardinals Departures|
|Sam Bradford (QB)||Carson Palmer (QB)|
|Andre Smith (OT)||Tyrann Mathieu (S)|
|Josh Rosen (QB)||John Brown (WR)|
|Christian Kirk (WR)||Adrian Peterson (RB)|
|Jamar Taylor (CB)||Tramon Williams (CB)|
|Karlos Dansby (LB)|
Redskins and Cardinals Betting Trends
|Redskins Betting Trends||Cardinals Betting Trends|
|WAS was 2-6 SU on the road in 2017||ARI was 6-2 SU at home in 2017|
|WAS was 3-5 ATS on the road in 2017||ARI was 4-3-1 ATS at home in 2017|
|WAS was 3-3 ATS as an underdog in 2017||ARI was 1-1 ATS as a favorite in 2017|
|WAS is 2-4 ATS as a road underdog in 2017||ARI was 2-0 ATS as home favorites in 2017|
|WAS is 0-5 ATS in Week 1 over the last 5 years||ARI is 2-3 SU and ATS in Week 1 over the last 5 years|
Redskins vs Cardinals Prediction
This game should be close but expect the Arizona Cardinals to cover the spread with a 21-13 final.
David Johnson should have a big game against a weak linebacking corps for the Redskins.
Alex Smith will struggle in his first game with his new team. Both teams should be near the bottom of the NFC this season, but the opening week is always a chance for teams to catch their opposition off-guard.
The last meeting between these two came on December 17th, 2017, when Washington defeated the Cardinals 20-15. The Redskins served as the favorite in that game, too, laying 4.0 points.