Step right up, ladies and gentlemen… Let’s play….Find the win!
Yesterday, the 2012 NFL schedule was released (and over analyzed). Now comes the fun part (mostly looking at which teams are going to get screwed over this season)—finding those lowly teams a win in those tough schedules. Naturally, this means looking at the Redskins schedule and see if we can avoid going 0-16.
Call me optimistic, but I see 6 wins this year for the Skins. The first will come in week 2 at Rams. Yes, I know road games are hard, but the Skins won more road games than home games last year, one of which…drumroll please…. was an early regular season games against the Rams. Yes, the Rams will improve this year, but arguably, so will the Redskins with the much anticipated arrival the of RGIII era. So let’s put one in the W column there. By no means a sure thing, but after what should be a demoralizing game against the Saints in the season opener, the Skins will have something to prove (much like the week 3 loss to the Cowboys last season before the 2011 win against the Rams) and will take it out in St.Louis.
The next win will hopefully come the following week at home against the Bengals. Because it’s the Bengals. If any team feels like the Redskins at times, it’s the Bengals. They know how to win, but man do they know how to lose. I call this one a very close game, but since the Skins have to get a home victory in there somewhere, I think it’s as safe a gamble as any.
The Skins will then go on a normal mid-season slump where they will lose completely winable games. Hopefully this will end with the Vikings game at home. The Skins lost last year in an incredibly sloppy fashion to a Vikings team that could not have cobbled that win together in a more embarrassing way. It made the loss really sting and put the nail in the Redskins season of misery and despair. Ok, enough with the dramatics. I think this year, the Redskins will come out on top. I’m not going to say it’s going to be pretty, but Vikings defense of years ago seemed to leave some pretty gaping holes which resulted in allowing 26 points. If the Skins defense can stay healthy and not provide them so many opportunities to score, we will see a different outcome this year.
The Week 9 game against the Panthers is one that you probably think would be on this list. It won’t be. Barring some sort of Panther injury, I’m going to say that last year’s result will be repeated in an embarrassing home game loss. Everyone said that it was the road games that killed us, but it wasn’t. It was the lack of defense, allowing high scoring teams to capitalize on opportunities. The Panthers will be a high scoring team this year so unless we get get our defense in check, we are going to feel lost again, against this fresh (and fast) offense. The best chance we have is to contain them. It’s doable, but the Redskins are pros at losing to bad teams, so I’ll take the L on this one.
Let’s just get this over with. Last year, the Skins lost to the Eagles after a bye, at home. This year, the bye comes much later in the season, with an honest opportunity to beat the Eagles in FedEx Field in Week 11. I’m calling it.
Everyone wants me to say that the Skins are going to beat the Ravens. I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole. The Ravens are clearly better and will have “home field” advantage even at FedEx Field. This is the game I will be hoping for a win at more than any other game (even those Cowboy rivalry games), but that’s mostly just to shut my B’more friends up. But, I’m not holding my breath or making any bets on this one.
Hopefully the Redskins will prove that they can beat weak teams on the road with a Week 15 win against the lowly Browns. And then comes week 17, Cowboys at Washington. Week 17 is tricky. Could be an important week for some teams—the Cowboys might be one of those teams, fighting for the wild card. If there’s one thing that the Redskins would want to do with their last dying breath of the season, it would be preventing the Cowboys from making the playoffs. To have the opportunity to be the team that gets to eliminate their rival from any playoff hope, well, that’s just something to play for. Plus, if the Thanksgiving road game turns sour, the Redskins will have something to prove by beating the Boys the second time around. Last year, the Redskins were swept in the rivalry that normally sees .500.
It’s definitely a rough road ahead, but that’s why I love this time of year, anything is possible.