1. Ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy. Welcome to the first in-season version of the Sixpack--the week leading up to the first game has to be considered in-season. Nobody can say we are overlooking important preseason dates and events by focusing our attention on the Houston Texans and the 2014 season. As the cement dries on the newly minted roster, coaches are likely working around the clock to prepare for the first test. For the first time in a long time, this grade will count toward our final grade. What we do this Sunday is going on our permanent record, y'all.
2. All summer long, I have been claiming that the Redskins were given a real gift by the scheduling gods. Truth be told, that gift was given to Jacksonville and Houston as well (technically). Three fairly terrible teams from 2013 put together in the inaugural weeks of the season makes for some interesting plots...assuming you are a fan of one of those terrible teams. Listen...can Jacksonville beat us? Yes. Can Houston beat us? Hell yes. I am not here saying we are better than those teams. I am here saying that one of those teams is going to take advantage of the early schedule and get momentum on their side in the first half of the season. It says here that this is what the Redskins will do.
3. It is one thing to be unafraid of names like Houston and Jacksonville, but names like J.J. Watt and even Jadeveon Clowney deserve at least some respect and trepidation. I can understand why folks don't want to overestimate the skills of a rookie, but Clowney is capable of making very big plays. Watt is simply the best defensive lineman in the game (apologies to Jarvis Jenkins). Given that our starting quarterback is potentially one hit away from being out of the league, I would say that we should be very concerned about facing Houston's defensive front. On the flip side, if and when our offensive line contains this group, we will have something to really celebrate.
4. We, along with so many other fanbases, like to say that "every team has a chance at this time of year." Though mathematically correct, we know that this is only...mathematically correct. There were certainly seasons over the last 20 years that the Redskins had no realistic chance of advancing to the postseason. That did not stop us from believing we could defy the odds, but in the end, all we did was prop up the gambling industry by throwing good money at bad bets. As someone who has been guilty of overestimating our chances...from time to time...I can honestly say (in my best Morgan Freeman voice) that I am rehabilitated. I wish I could go back and talk to that younger version of me...and tell him to save his money so that he can QUADRUPLE DOWN ON 2014!!!
5. In ways that previous versions of this team failed to match, the 2014 Washington Redskins have the horses to contend. In this day and age, those horses necessary to contend are mostly on offense. We have a quarterback, a running back, a tight end, a trio of wide receivers and a left tackle that are all good enough to build a playoff run around. I am not calling anyone elite. I am not calling anyone "the best." I am simply saying that on offense, we should be able to do enough to keep us in games, and even win those games when the defense struggles. (SPOILER ALERT: Our defense is going to struggle...sometimes.)
6. I will put out my full record prediction post later in the week, but let's just say I'm feeling good about our chances in the NFC East. That is all that matters. That is the only thing we need to be focusing on at this point. Win your division and you get to host a playoff game. Win your division and you have done enough to back up your claim on the postseason. Nobody is going to make any Super Bowl plans because a team beats Houston and/or Jacksonville in September, but without those wins, we'll be that much closer to draft profiles in February!! Welcome to the 2014 regular season. Welcome to the beginning of Washington's inexorable march to Super Bowl glory!