The Redskins got off to a horrible start at 1-3, but still have their playoff hopes alive due to an incredibly down year in the NFC East. Here is what the Redskins need to realistically happen each week to rise to the top of the division:
-This is almost a single elimination game for the Redskins, as they are already down one game in the division, and the Redskins are going to need at least a 4-2 division record if they want to have a reasonable chance of breaking tie-breakers (also ensuring that either the Cowboys or Eagles don’t have more wins than them). Though they can still be 4-2 without this game, the Redskins need to get some momentum going and prove to everyone that they can beat someone other than the Raiders missing their entire offensive backfield.
Rest of the Division: I’m not going to consider the Giants at this point at 0-5 with two division losses. The Eagles unfortunately have a pretty easy game versus the Buccaneers. While Michael Vick might not play, it’s still not that reasonable to assume the Eagles will lose. Hopefully with the loss of Vick and the extra week to prepare the Bucs can take the game.
-Yes the Bears have back-to-back losses, and this game is at home, but this is not likely a game the Redskins can reasonably win. The Bears have 10 days to prepare for this game, and are going to bring a high powered offensive attack with a number of weapons that the Redskins don’t match-up well against. The Bears offensive line has some issues and could be exploited, but it isn’t as bad as it used to be.
Rest of the Division: Dallas is on the road versus Philly. If Vick is back, the Eagles could have a good chance to win this game at home, but I think the best hope is that the Cowboys win this game. Dallas looks to be the biggest threat to the Redskins overall, but the Eagles do have an advantage over the Redskins with the win in week 1. Philadelphia is the one team the Redskins can at best only hope to split against. If Dallas knocks off the Eagles here and the Skins can beat them later, the best the Eagles can do is 4-2, while the Redskins could be 5-1 in the division and have the tiebreaker. The other issue with the Eagles is the fact they are in a ridiculously easy stretch of their schedule, and if they win this game they should easily have a winning record and a lot of momentum when the Redskins see them again.
-Yes, yes anyone can win on any given Sunday. But believing the Redskins and their secondary should be the favorite against Peyton Manning and the Broncos this year, is basically grounds to be committed to a mental institution. The Broncos are at home with probably the best offense the league has ever seen, and by then they will have Von Miller back. The only chance the Redskins have is if Ray Finkle decides to kidnap Peyton Manning from one of his commercials Ace Ventura style. Hopefully I’m wrong, but this is likely to be a really tough game for the Redskins.
Rest of the Division: The Eagles get the Giants again, and this time it is at home for them. Tough to see them losing this battle for any reason. Hopefully they will have lost to Dallas the week before, so they will only be 3-1 in the division and 4-4 overall. The Cowboys have a tougher test on the road against the Lions. Detroit is a much better team this year and should be able to win at home over the Cowboys.
-Chargers are better than expected this year, but the Redskins should be able to beat them at home. With San Diego traveling across country they will be at a disadvantage, one the Redskins should be able to exploit. The Chargers offense is dangerous and probably won’t be limited too much, but the Redskins should be able to put up some points against their defense. This will hopefully be a win like the the Redskins saw in 2012, where their defense wasn’t great, but the offense was able to put up 30 plus points.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys are home versus the Vikings and barring a major game by Adrian Peterson, they will likely easily get the win here. The Eagles also have what looks to be an easy game on the road against the Raiders. Now with Pryor back and possibly McFadden at this point the Eagles could definitely lose on the road, but they should be favored at this point. The Raiders struggled when the Redskins went up tempo, so facing the Eagles is not a match-up that looks good on paper.
-This is a road game on a short week, which can be trouble, but luckily the Vikings are a mess right now. The Redskins should be able to go in here and get an easy win. They will have to prove they can stop the run, which is no easy task, but they should be able to stack the box against this passing offense. The most interesting thing about this game will be what quarterback the Redskins get to face off with as the Vikings signed Josh Freeman and could be looking to turn to him as the starter by the time this game rolls around.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys go on the road to New Orleans and pretty much have no legitimate shot in this game. In the past couple of years, high powered offenses could maybe win shootouts over the Saints, but with the way this defense is playing Dallas is in trouble. The Eagles also face one of the top offenses in league as they face off on the road against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is about as good as you can get at home so the Chances of the Eagles winning this game is pretty small.
-This is another must win game for the Redskins. Not only could this game be for first place in the division, but it would eliminate the Eagles advantage in the head-to-head tie breaker. If the Eagles had already lost to the Cowboys, it will also mean they can finish no better than 4-2 in the division (and still have to head to Dallas). If the Redskins win the rest of their division games, they would have the tie breaker then over the Eagles. This game won’t be easy as the Eagles offense exploits weaker defenses and this game will be in Philly. Washington though has to step up if they want a shot at this division.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys are on bye this week
-The Redskins could have some momentum heading into this game, but they also could be ripe for a let down after what will likely be a rough division battle against the Eagles. The 49ers remain one of the better teams in the NFL and this will likely be a very tough game for the Redskins. Moving the ball against that 49ers Defense won’t be easy, and Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis all represent tough match-ups for the Redskins to stop. Though it is unclear at this time, it is very possible one or both of Aldon Smith and Michael Crabtree could be back for this game. Smith was originally expected to miss only 5 weeks and that would place him back at Week 10. Even if Roger Goddell suspends him for 2 weeks (and any suspension could come after the year or possibly even waived given that Smith took his own actions to be proactive and go to rehab), Smith would be back by the Skins game. Crabtree is tougher to know about, but he’s expected back by around week 10 as well, though he still might not be ready for game action.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys are in New York to face the Giants. One can hope the Giants get their act together and knock off the Cowboys, the reality is this is likely an easy win for the Cowboys. The Eagles have their bye this week.
-The Redskins finally get their first Giants game and it comes at a good time after a short week and a likely tough game over the 49ers. At the beginning of the season this didn’t look like a plus, but with as bad as the Giants have been, this is a welcomed easier game for the Redskins.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys get the Raiders at home and should have a pretty easy win. The Eagles also have a very winnable game this week over the Cardinals.
-This game is at home, but don’t mistake it for being an easy game. The Chiefs are winning in all phases of the game and they are a really good football team. Their defense is particularly tough and could prove to be a hard test for our offense to try to get points.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys head to Chicago, but could steal this game as the Bears have struggled against big time pocket passing quarterbacks this year. The Eagles have the Lions at home so they might have a chance, but it is tough to believe this secondary can slow down Stafford and Johnson.
-The Falcons are in big trouble as they appear to be without Roddy White for the year. In addition their defense is suspect and their offensive line can’t slow anyone down. Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Steven Jackson are all formidable, but the Redskins should be able to take this game on the road.
Rest of the division: The Cowboys get the Packers at home in a game that will likely be the shootout. In a shootout it’s safe to bet on Aaron Rodgers, even on the road. Eagles have a pretty winnable road game against the Vikings. Going to Minnesota isn’t a cake walk, but The Eagle should win this one.
-While it isn’t as direct as it was last year, the division is likely on the line in this game. It’s another key must win game for the Redskins in their division. RGIII will likely be fully back by this point and the Redskins will be at home so the Redskins chances look good if they have something to play for.
Rest of the division: The Eagles have a tough home game against the Bears and will likely lose the game, and all but take them out of the playoff picture.
– This ends up being a great way to close out the season for the Redskins. Though the Giants will definitely try to play spoiler, this should be a very winnable road game for the Redskins. With the win here they end up 5-1 in the division and in solely in first place of the division.
Rest of the division: The Eagles and Cowboys face off again, this time in Dallas. The Cowboys would be out of the division race as they wouldn’t have a chance with the tie breaker with two losses against the Redskins. The Eagles wouldn’t have anything to play for either even if the Redskins lose to the Giants. Both teams would be 8-8, with a 1-1 split for the first tie breaker. Both teams would have 4-2 division records, but the Redskins would win though in the common game tie breaker.