The National Football League released their 2013 schedule on Thursday. Here’s my first look at the Washington Redskins’ upcoming season.
Easing into the Season (Weeks 1 – 4)
- 9/9 Eagles (MNF)
- 9/15 @Packers
- 9/22 Lions
- 9/29 @Raiders
If there was ever a team that needed a few “easy” games at the start, the Redskins are it. No one knows for sure if Robert Griffin III will be ready to go on Monday Night against Philadelphia or for the few weeks after that either. By getting three of their first four games against teams that finished 4-12 last season, the Redskins have a good shot at going at least 2-2 if not 3-1 even if Kirk Cousins has to start all four games.
And with a road trip to Lambeau Field in Week Two, the chances of going unbeaten, even with RGIII starting all four games, is pretty slim.
The Early Bye (Week 5)
Usually I don’t like early bye weeks, but this year I’ll make an exception. If RGIII can’t start right away, or worse has to go on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, an early bye gets the Redskins an extra week to start him later in the year.
Road Warriors (Weeks 6 – 11)
- 10/13 @Cowboys (SNF)
- 10/20 Bears
- 10/27 @Broncos
- 11/3 Chargers
- 11/7 @Vikings
- 11/17 @Eagles
Here’s the rough stretch. Four out of six road games, starting at Dallas and including two 2012 playoff teams, Denver and Minnesota, and a division rival, Philadelphia, that’s always tough at home. The Redskins will need to at least break even, if not go 4-2 through these six games to stay in contention. Hopefully, RGIII will be 100% for these games and no other prominent starter will be lost to injury in the meantime.
The (Mostly) Home Stretch (Weeks 12 – 17)
- 11/25 49ers (MNF)
- 12/1 Giants (SNF)
- 12/8 Chiefs
- 12/15 @Falcons
- 12/22 Cowboys
- 12/29 @Giants
Monday Night Football, against the defending NFC Champions, on my birthday! Does it get any better than this? Well, if the Redskins can get to this point with no more than four losses, they will have a great shot at repeating. Four of their last six games are at Fed Ex, though two tough ones—Atlanta and the finale against the Giants—are on the road. If the Redskins are going to get on a late season roll like they did last year, this schedule sets them up well.
So how should they do overall. Obviously, it’s way to soon to even make a bad prediction, but looking at the schedule I see them finishing somewhere between 12-4 (With RGIII starting no later that Week Six against Dallas) and 8-8 (most likely if he is on PUP or Injured Reserve, Designated to Return).
My gut feeling? They’ll split the difference for a second straight 10-6 season, with the last game deciding the division for the third year in a row.
Note: gut feelings subject to change.