This post is part two of a previous article. In part one, the prediction count was five Redskins wins, two losses, and one toss-up match-up. You can view part one by CLICKING HERE.
Washington Redskins Schedule Breakdown Part 2
The Redskins have what has been ranked as the 18th toughest schedule heading into next season, that is based on this year’s opponents record for 2012 being a combined 127-128-1. I don’t put a lot of weight into the strength of schedule stat as teams change from one year to the next and no one has any idea just who will be good in any given year.
The non-division games that jump off the page to me right away are at Green Bay (week 2), the Bears at home (week 7), at Denver (week 8), the 49ers at home (week 12) and at the Falcons (week 15). It’s not that the other games will not be tough tests, but those games, in my opinion, are the key non-division games this year. Click HERE to view part 1 (weeks 1-9).
Minnesota Vikings Week 10 (Away)
The Minnesota Vikings are a team with many question marks heading into 2013. This past off-season they traded their dynamic, but often injured play-maker Percy Harvin, to the Seattle Seahawks.
In return for Harvin, the Vikings did receive a first-round pick, they also made a draft day trade that brought them a third first rounder. Anytime a team drafts three players in the first round of the NFL draft it’s big news, but the truth is it’s going to take a couple of seasons to see just how those picks turn out. In the meantime, the Vikings still have question marks at quarterback and in their secondary as Christian Ponder had the least amount of 20+ yard passes last year of any QB and the Vikings replaced much of the back end of their defense.
As every NFL fan knows, the Vikings live and die with Adrian Peterson as their key offensive weapon, and 2013 should not be any different than years before. This game is already being hyped as “the battle of the reconstructed knees,” and the media will continue to ride that moniker until game-time. The Redskins should be able to move the ball on the ground against Minnesota, but the key to this game is to keep Peterson under 100 yards and away from the end zone. Prediction…Redskins win
Philadelphia Eagles Week 11 (Away)
The second matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles should be much like the first one, but by that time the Redskins, as well as the entire NFL, will know what first-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly has up his sleeve as far as his offense is concerned. I’m not sold yet on Kelly as I believe he may fall victim to the “college coach moving to the NFL and having problems” ordeal, the guy reminds me a lot of Steve Spurrier. Many Redskins fans will remember that being reminded of Spurrier as a coach is not a good thing at all.
I believe the key to beating the Eagles will be keeping LeSean McCoy contained and creating pressure on whoever the Eagles quarterback is (still unknown at this point) to create turnovers which have been the death of the Eagles now for a couple of seasons. Prediction…Redskins win
San Francisco 49ers Week 12 (Home)
This will be one of the biggest games of the Redskins 2013 season, it truly will tell us where the Redskins stand as a franchise. The game will be hyped as the “Battle of the Read-Option,” and rightfully so as both teams run similar offensive schemes. The Redskins will have to find a way to limit 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s rushing yards as well as find a way to stop tight end, Vernon Davis.
Playing the 49ers at home is a big advantage for the Redskins as the home crowd will be in full throat and the team will be looking to make a statement with a win. I feel as if the defense will need to step up and play the best game of the season if the Redskins want to win versus San Francisco. Both teams were near the top of the NFL in turnover differential a year ago, and the team that wins this game will dominate that stat. Prediction…Toss up
New York Giants Week 13 (Home)
Since I believe that the New York Giants will be the Redskins best competition in the NFC East this coming season, the two games against them are the most important games of the season if the Redskins want to make it to the playoffs. The last few years the NFC East division has come down to the last game of the year to decide who will win the division and move on to the playoffs. This year shouldn’t be any different as these two teams will battle in week 13 and week 17, both match-ups will have severe ramifications for the eventual winner of the east.
Playing the Giants means the Redskins will have to find a way to keep Eli Manning in check and Victor Cruz out of the end zone. Washington experienced success against the Giants a year ago running the ball, and I look for that to continue in 2013. The Giants will look to establish the running game early on themselves, but like always, they will be looking to the passing game by the end of this contest to pull out a win. Both games in 2012 were close, and I think this year will be no different at all…Prediction…Giants win
Kansas City Chiefs Week 14 (Home)
Facing former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid for the first time as the Chiefs new coach should be interesting. Reid saw up close and personal exactly what the Redskins are capable of last year as his team was swept by the surging Redskins late in the season. The Chiefs may have only won two games a season ago, but that doesn’t mean they are light on talent as they also placed the most players on the ‘NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2013’ out of any team in the league, so they should not be taken lightly.
The real question mark for Kansas City this year will in fact be, can new quarterback Alex Smith be successful in Andy Reid’s pass-heavy offense, by this time in the season those question will be answered. Prediction…Redskins win
Atlanta Falcons Week 15 (Away)
This game will likely be a preview of a possible playoff matchup. In 2012 the Redskins gave the Falcons a good game, but in the end, lost to Atlanta in FedEx, Robert Griffin III was knocked out of the game with a concussion and only played one half of football.
The major question heading into 2013 for the Redskins, is in the secondary as they try to improve off of last year’s 30th placed defense against the pass. The Redskins looked to the draft to improve those issues this past spring. By the time that this game is played, we all will know just how improved their unit is, and that unit will face perhaps the best wide receiver duo in the entire NFL when they take the field against Atlanta.
Julio Jones and Roddy White will pose serious problems to the Redskins in this game, and if the Redskins want to have any chance at all, they will need to contain one and make sure the other doesn’t kill them in the process.
Atlanta is not known for their defense, but they did add some pass rush help in Osi Umenyiora this offseason (free agent from the NY Giants), Osi is a player that the Redskins are very familiar with from all his years in New York. In order to win this game, Washington will have to put 30+ points up on the scoreboard and make Matt Ryan make mistakes by putting extreme pressure on him.
Playing in Atlanta is never easy these days, especially against a team that will be looking to wrap their division up by this time in the season. Prediction…Falcons win
Dallas Cowboys Week 16 (Home)
Playing the Dallas Cowboys at home, in December, three days before Christmas? That sounds like a present sent from the football gods themselves. Under Tony Romo’s direction at quarterback, the Cowboys have had good November’s, followed by bad December’s, so the sheer timing factor plays into Washington’s advantage.
By now almost everyone knows how to beat Dallas, pressure Romo into making bad passes and turnovers will follow. But remember, that was also Jason Garrett’s play calling that we were all used to. Things will be a touch different this year in Dallas as Bill Callahan will be calling the plays this year. One thing is for sure with Callahan, he will run the ball more than Garrett did, the problem is Garrett couldn’t run the ball efficiently in part because the Cowboys couldn’t keep their running backs healthy.
Teams who switch both offensive and defensive coordinators tend to have problems adjusting the first season, especially when the defensive scheme is changed completely like the Cowboys will do in 2013 when they go from a 3-4 defense, back to a 4-3. After two 8-8 seasons in a row, Dallas will struggle to win seven games in 2013. Prediction…Redskins win
New York Giants Week 17 (Away)
This game will likely decide who wins the NFC East, depending on injuries throughout the year on both teams. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in a virtual NFC East Championship game, but I’ll give it a shot. Playing in New York, in late December, means the weather will not be on anyone’s side, and it will likely be cold and windy, meaning the running game will dictate who wins this matchup. Another close one…Prediction…Redskins win
The 2013 season should be an enjoyable one to watch, one that I believe will be led by two Sophomores who will see no slump but will, in fact, see the playoffs again.
Washington Redskins season prediction according to this breakdown: 10-4 with two toss-up games that I believe could go either way, NFC East Champions again (I don’t make playoff predictions).