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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

This was supposed to be a dream matchup for everyone involved in marketing the NFL. Colin Kaepernick and the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers visiting Robert Griffin III and the up-and-coming Washington Redskins.

*Two quarterbacks who were going to revolutionize the NFL with their arms and their legs.

*Two quarterbacks who made the playoffs in their first seasons as starters.

*The guy doing McDonald’s commercials vs. the guy doing Subway commercials.

The league scripted the handoff as well as they could when creating the schedule several months ago. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady on a Sunday Night TV game…leading into Colin Kaepernick vs. RGIII in a Monday Night TV game. The NFL was doing a commercial for itself between all the sandwich commercials!

Unfortunately, the kid quarterbacks haven’t been cooperating. Kaepernick isn’t running much this year, either by choice or defensive schematics from his opponents. That’s exposed his extreme inaccuracy as a passer, particularly against quality opposition. RGIII took longer than expected to recover from knee surgery. That turned him into a one-dimensional QB who had lost some zip on his passes.

At least RGIII has been moving in the right direction physically in recent weeks, though behind-the-scenes turmoil about offensive play-calling has become a distraction. Kaepernick, if anything, is moving in the WRONG direction as a passer. He needed lucky field position breaks to find the end zone last week at New Orleans.

Let’s run the numbers…

 

Won-Lost Records (strength of schedule)

S. Francisco: 6-4 (#20 schedule in USA Today)

Washington: 3-7 (#5 schedule in USA Today)

The Niners are battling for a Wildcard, having lost touch with Seattle at the top of the NFC West. That’s a disappointing record considering their schedule strength. Washington is probably out of the playoff mix unless both Philadelphia and Dallas collapse. That tough schedule strength suggests the Skins are better than a 3-7 record would suggest.

 

Yards-Per Play

S. Francisco: 5.2 on offense, 5.0 on defense

Washington: 5.8 on offense, 6.1 on defense

San Francisco’s been a big disappointment on offense. Last year, Kaepernick’s legs helped them impress in this stat late in the year when it mattered most. Without long scrambles, there’s not much big play potential. Washington’s offense has actually been pretty good during RGIII’s recover. Their defense has been awful. If you make adjustments for schedule strength, the differentials are a virtual wash. San Francisco is near break-even within a defensive, low scoring framework. Washington is near break-even within a higher scoring, shootout framework.

 

Turnover Differential

S. Francisco: +6

Washington: -2

The Niners always emphasize this stat, and it’s serving them well again in 2013. Washington isn’t getting any cheap points, which is a problem against a tough schedule. A big question going forward for San Francisco will be weather a pressing Kaepernick will start throwing interceptions when the result is on his arm. You can’t get back to the Super Bowl by punting all the time.

 

Market Performance

S. Francisco: 6-3-1 ATS

Washington: 3-7 ATS

San Francisco’s shown some extreme tendencies this year that the market was having trouble adjusting to until the push in New Orleans last week. San Francisco crushes non-contenders, but struggles vs. quality. Since they’ve played a week schedule, that’s led to a money-making campaign for backers. Bad results vs. Seattle, Indianapolis, and Carolina may not matter until the playoffs. If Washington is as bad as Tennessee, Houston, and St. Louis, then Monday Night will see another easy 49ers win.

 

Current Line: San Francisco by 5, total 47

 

The market sees this as a good spot for the Niners, positioned to dominate a non-contender again. Remember that home field counts for three points. San Francisco is seen as eight points better on a neutral field even with less than stellar results the last two weeks against Carolina and New Orleans. Could Washington’s strong strength of schedule be hinting at a possible upset? Would Washington be a “contender” had they played San Francisco’s easier schedule?

JIM HURLEY has some very strong opinions about this game. You can purchase the best options for this one and the full Monday schedule right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, talk to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Call during the day Monday any time before kickoff. Be sure to check on full season basketball rates when you call!

Back with you in the NOTEBOOK Tuesday and Wednesday as we gear up for the annual Thanksgiving TURKEY SHOOT. The FOOTBALL FEAST has already begun. Join JIM HURLEY at the table for your greatest Thanksgiving Week ever!

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