The Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) will head into Washington, D.C. on the heels of a tight 34-27 win over the Cleveland Browns. The Washington Redskins (1-1) dropped a heart-breaker in St. Louis and will look for a win to stay competitive in the NFC East.
The Bengals haven't seemed to match their 2011 performances that led to a return to the playoffs. A close win over the Browns is a similar story to last season, but Cincinnati opened the season with a 44-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Redskins and Robert Griffin III are making their home debut this weekend, and they are hoping their defense will find a bit of footing after surrendering a total of 63 points in their first two games.
But the real focus in the capitol city is on offense, and the player on which the team leveraged their future.
RG3 has thrown for 526 yards in the first two games, completing 71 percent of his passes. He's thrown for three touchdowns and added two more on the ground. He has 124 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 yards per attempt.
Where: FedExField, Landover, Maryland
When: September 23, 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Redskins -3 (via Odds Shark)
Moneyline: Washington -160
Who will win the game?
Three of the sports books featured on Odds Shark have the Redskins as a three-point favorite. 5Dimes is the outlier, with just a 2.5 point spread.
The over/under has a similar story, but TopBet has set the line at 49.5 points.
The smart bet here should be the over. Both defenses were expected to be good units in 2012 but have struggled thus far.
Both teams also received bad news on the injury front over the past week.
Cincinnati lost linebacker Thomas Howard, their leading tackler, and backup defensive end Jamaal Anderson to injury.
The news was a little worse for Washington. They placed Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker on injured reserve.
While it is a stretch, one of these teams could come close to the over on just their half of the scoreboard.
This game should offer plenty of entertainment to fans that like offense. Those who lean towards strong defense play will want to tune in to another game unless, of course, one of these teams is your favorite.
Andy Dalton threw for over 300 yards last week, and there is no reason to believe he won't duplicate that performance against a defense that gave Sam Bradford his first 300-yard performance since last October. The Bengals have a balanced attack with the addition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and emergence of Andrew Hawkins as their second receiver.
Griffin will be looking to display some fireworks of his own.
Alfred Morris is establishing himself as a solid running back and keeping defensive units honest. He has helped Griffin build his passer rating of 111.6.
This game could turn into a back-and-forth scorefest, with the win going to the team that best controls the clock and sets themselves up to score last.
ESPN.com sees this game as tough to determine. Seven writers and both computer options give the edge (straight up) to the Redskins with five favoring the Bengals.
The fan vote on CBS.com has 64 percent taking the Redskins straight up, but eight of the nine writers are picking the Bengals.
I'm not convinced the Redskins beat a quality opponent in Week 1, and it is hard to overlook their loss to the Rams. St. Louis is improved in 2012, but if Washington is going to make strides this season, that was a game they needed to win.
Cincinnati 38, Washington 34