Tom Brady: New England Patriots QB Not Expected to Play Thursday

New England Patriots vs. Washington Redskins
Thursday, 8/7/14, 7:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Washington -1.5
Current Betting Line:  Washington -1
Opening Total:  37
Current Total:  38.5
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

Patriots vs. Dolphins NFL Preview
The New England Patriots are expected to sit QB Tom Brady Thursday

New England has already faced Washington in three joint practices earlier this week, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL predictions, especially since all eyes will likely be on Ryan Mallett.  The former Arkansas Razorbacks star and longtime backup to Tom Brady is expected to start under center, as the team may be showcasing him for a trade in the future due to his contract ending this season.  Brady has sat out exhibition openers in the past, including 2005, 2008 and 2011.

The Patriots own a combined 33-31 SU record in preseason games when taking on NFC East teams, which is important to consider when looking over the NFL betting odds.  New England has won 13 of 20 previous meetings against Washington when meeting up in this situation, including wins in eight of the last 10.  Head coach Bill Belichick has produced a 42-35 SU mark in this setting, including a 31-26 record as the front fan of this franchise.

Washington will have a new face on the sideline with the head coaching debut of Jay Gruden, who took the job on Jan. 9 after spending time as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati.  The Redskins may possess one of the more exciting offenses in the league if dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin III takes to the playbook, as he has plenty of weapons, including running back Alfred Morris and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.  It’s also important to point out that the team has a capable backup under center in former Michigan State star Kirk Cousins, who has thrown for 1,320 yards in eight career games.

The Redskins need to perform at a higher level defensively, with it all starting at the linebacker position, with all eyes focused on Brian Orakpo, who returned on a franchise tag after making his third career Pro Bowl with a 10-sack season in 2013.  He helps to form half of one of the league’s top outside combinations with four-year veteran Ryan Kerrigan on the other side.  The stop unit ranked 30th in the league in points allowed a year ago.

Sports bettors will likely play the total, as both offenses will open up the playbook after getting to know the other side’s personnel earlier this week.

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