Last year the Redskins went into their bye week sitting at 3-6 and it looked like their season was all but over. After the bye they went on a 7 game run that put them atop the division and gave them their first home playoff game in over a decade. This year the Redskins are again sitting at 3-6, but their chances for a repeat performance seem to be far lower.
-Last year the Redskins went into their bye week at 3-6 and had two weeks to right the ship and fix some things down the stretch. Some of this was in getting healthy (Pierre Garcon), other things included coming up with some new game plans particularly on defense. The Redskins have already had their bye this year and it’s going to be tough to fix things this year (though they do have some extra time before next Sunday).
-Among their final 7 games the Redskins only faced off versus one eventual playoff team, the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. This year the Redskins face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and the red hot San Francisco 49ers. Though the Ravens did end up winning the Super Bowl they were stuck in the middle of a down part of their year when they faced the Redskins. Maybe the Chiefs and 49ers will fall off by the time the Skins face them, but right now it definitely doesn’t look like that will be the case. If anything the 49ers should only be getting better as Aldon Smith and even Michael Crabtree will be returning. The chance that the Redskins can beat both of these teams is extremely small.
-Last year among the Redskins final 7 games they played 3 really struggling teams (Eagles twice and the Browns). This year the Redskins have that as well as they face the Giants twice and the Falcons. The big difference this year is the quarterback play. Last year those three games were against rookies Nick Foles (twice) and Brandon Weeden. This season they face Eli Manning twice and Matt Ryan. Even with the rest of those teams struggling the fact that they face tougher quarterbacks is going to make the Redskins task that much harder.
-Last year the Redskins offense was a thing of beauty and it carried this team. Opposing defenses didn’t have an answer for it and they moved the ball with ease. This year it’s been hit or miss with this team. While the yards are still high, most weeks this offense has struggled to move the ball when it mattered most. With a weak defense the Redskins need to rely on the offense to be the stronger unit, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Another big issue is how much the offense has cost in terms of points and turnovers. The offense has allowed 2 TD returns and a safety, while also committing more turnovers than they did all last season.
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-The Redskins have suffered some injuries to back-ups and special teamers, but they haven’t really been touched among their starters. Last year you could point to some of the key injuries being part of the cause for the offense or defense to struggle but that isn’t the case this year. While they’ve been really healthy as a team among their starters so far, it’s likely that they will suffer a couple injuries down the stretch which is going to make this team probably struggle worse.
-Last year Pierre Garcon came back from injury down the stretch and had a big impact on this team. Without Garcon it’s doubtful this team would have had a shot of winning all 7 of those games. This year there isn’t really any impact player who could come back. In part that is due to the fact that no starter has really gotten injured. Some might point to Fred Davis maybe coming back, but that seems unlikely. Also, if he’s playing than Reed likely is not so that may actually hurt the team. Guard Maurice Hurt is another option given how bad the interior has looked, but chances are he’ll look just as bad if he were to play.
-Last year the special teams wasn’t that great, but after the two blocked punts in the first two weeks, they really didn’t have any major miscues. Each week this year another thing goes wrong for the Redskins on special teams and it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. This is going to be a big negative for the Redskins this year and something that will be tough to overcome.
-Last year 5 of the Redskins final 7 games were against the division, which meant by sweeping them the Redskins would have a 5-1 division record. That makes it really tough for anyone else to have the tie breaker over them. This year the Redskins are already 0-2 in the division and the Cowboys are 3-0. Even if the Redskins were to tie them at 9-7 or 10-6, the best the Redskins can do is 4-2 in the division. Even with handing the Cowboys a loss when they come to Fedex, Dallas would still need to lose another divisional game to move on to the next tie breaker.