Discussing Case Keenum and Washington’s Win Total

Times may be tough in Washington this year

Keith Allison, Flickr

  • Case Keenum was recently awarded the starting quarterback role, beating out rookie Dwayne Haskins and injured veterans Colt McCoy and Alex Smith

  • Judging by their schedule, the road to seven regular-season wins will be an uphill climb.

2018 Season Recap

Record: 7-9 (3rd in NFC East)

Early on in the 2018 season, it might have seemed as if the Washington Redskins were on the upswing. Their season opener on the road against the Arizona Cardinals set the tone after a 24-6 win. The team was 2-1 heading into their Week 4 bye, right after a 31-17 victory at home versus the Green Bay Packers. Washington came back to a tough road matchup versus the New Orleans Saints, which resulted in a 43-19 loss for the visitors and record-breaking play for Drew Brees. 

Even after an embarrassing but not entirely surprising loss, the Redskins went on to three consecutive wins against the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Washington was atop the NFC East heading into Week 9, posting a 5-2 record over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-4), Dallas Cowboys (3-4), and New York Giants (1-7). The brief flash of a playoff contention squad was short-lived, as the Redskins won only two more games to finish 7-9 after a shutout 24-0 loss to the Eagles at home.

The Case For Keenum

Starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury last November, which resulted in the team putting Colt McCoy at the helm. McCoy went on to fracture his right fibula in Week 13 against the Eagles, leaving the Redskins without a consistent starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. This uncertainty was one of the main issues that the club addressed during the offseason. Enter former Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum for the cost of a sixth-round draft pick. Keenum comes with a 26-28 record as a starting signal-caller, passing for 12,661 yards and 64 touchdowns with 42 interceptions.  

Access this week’s NFL Best Bets and build your bankroll!  

Keenum’s last season with the Broncos was not impressive by any standard, with the franchise finishing 6-10 and third in the AFC West. On the season, Keenum totaled a career-high 3,890 passing yards, but only posted 18 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. However, Keenum did lead the Minnesota Vikings to the 2017 NFC Championship Game just one season prior, where he threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns after stepping in for Sam Bradford. 

One of the biggest headlines during Redskins training camp was the battle between Keenum and Dwayne Haskins, whom Washington selected with the 15th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Keenum won the competition, with coach Jay Gruden officially naming the veteran as the Week 1 starter versus the Eagles. Gruden specifically told reporters that Keenum’s experience and being able to quickly pick up the team’s offense were the main contributing factors. Haskins simply needs more time to develop.

Examining The Schedule

Factoring in the upcoming schedule is key to determining predicted wins and losses before the season kicks off. Once strength of schedule has been assessed, it’s simple to cross-reference it with early point spreads that have been released. A detailed bet analysis and rating is available every matchup each week, directly from the BetQL NFL Odds dashboard.  

The Redskins are favored in matchups versus the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7, New York Jets in Week 11, Detroit Lions in Week 12, and New York Giants in Week 16. Two notes to consider are that these are all home games, and the Redskins are still only slight favorites (other than the fact that these are extremely premature odds). In the pick ‘em matchup versus the Cowboys, the Redskins will go up against a trio of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper for a game that could easily go in Dallas’ favor.

Washington is already a heavy underdog against their other divisional rivals in their season opener, and they will be on the road versus the Vikings, Panthers, and Packers. Aside from the four games where Washington is favored, Week 6 against a rebuilding Miami franchise and Week 9 versus an only slightly improved Buffalo Bills squad could bode well for the underdogs.

Take The Under 

While on the surface it might look as if the Redskins will improve both offensively and defensively with additions like Haskins, edge rusher Montez Sweat, wide receiver Terry McLaurin and Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins, optimism is not always enough. However, they’ll live or die under Keenum’s ability to pass the football effectively. 

The injury-prone Redskins received some of the worst marks offensively last season, ranking 29th for offensive DVOA, points scored, and yards gained per passing play. Defensive stats also could use improvement in terms of defensive DVOA (20th), yards per play allowed (19th), and points allowed (15th). With no guarantee that Keenum will return to his 2017 glory, high susceptibility to injuries and a schedule with tough matchups, the under makes the most sense.  

Note: Advanced statistics were found on publicly-accessible Football Outsiders and NFL Next Gen Stats platforms. The advice above represents the writer's personal view and does not reflect or represent BetQL's stance or interest in any way.