Since the end of the 2015 season we've known the opponents and whether or not they would be home or away for the the Redskins this upcoming season. Now with tonight's schedule release we see just how tough the road will be.
2016 Redskins Schedule:
|DATE||OPPONENT (NETWORK)||TIME (ET)|
|Monday, Sept. 12||vs. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (ESPN) #||7:10 p.m.|
|Sunday, Sept. 18
||vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (FOX)
|Sunday, Sept. 25||at New York Giants (Fox)||1 p.m.|
|Sunday, Oct. 2
||vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS (CBS)
|Sunday, Oct. 9
||at Baltimore Ravens (FOX)||1 p.m.*|
|Sunday, Oct. 16||vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (FOX)||1 p.m.*|
|Sunday, Oct. 23||at Detroit Lions (FOX)||1 p.m.*|
|Sunday, Oct. 30||at Cincinnati Bengals^ (FOX) #||9:30 a.m.|
|Sunday, Nov. 6||BYE|
|Sunday, Nov. 13||vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (FOX)||1 p.m.*|
|Sunday, Nov. 20||vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (NBC) #||8:30 p.m.*|
|Thursday, Nov. 24||at Dallas Cowboys (FOX) #||4:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, Dec. 4||at. Arizona Cardinals (FOX)||4:25 p.m.*|
|Sunday, Dec. 11||at Philadelphia Eagles (FOX)
|Monday, Dec. 19||vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS (ESPN) #||8:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, Dec. 24||at Chicago Bears (FOX)||1 p.m.|
|Sunday, Jan. 1
||vs. NEW YORK GIANTS (FOX)||1 p.m.*|
Now a lot can change between the start of the season or even during the course of the season, but we can start to get a feel for how the schedule shakes out for the Redskins.
Things that the schedule makers did that should help the Redskins:
1. Easier early season schedule:
-There is a lot to like in the Redskins early season schedule as the first eight games has a number of advantages for the Redskins. They start out with two home games, and have four of their first six games at home. This gives the Redskins every opportunity to get off to a fast start next season. Their toughest two games of the first half of the season are vs the Steelers at home and against the Bengals in a neutral site game in London.
2. Getting the Steelers week 1
-The Steelers are arguably their 2nd toughest opponent of the 2016 behind the Carolina Panthers. By getting them week one the Redskins get all of camp to prep for them and can hopefully come up with a winning game plan. In addition it's not 100% that Le'Veon Bell is ready for week one, and even if he does play he might not be 100%. The Steelers passing attack also might be working out the kinks as they will be replacing veteran TE Heath Miller and finding a weapon on the outside to replace Martavis Bryant. This should give the Redskins the best chance of taking this tough game.
3. Middle of the year bye:
-Now this was fully expected and well known given that the Redskins London game had been previous set, but it does help to have a middle of the year bye.
4. Easier final two weeks of the season:
-If the Redskins are in contention at the end of the year the good news is their final two weeks are favorable. The Redskins close out the year on the road versus the Bears and home versus the Giants. Now it's possible both of those teams are better than expected (Giants especially shouldn't be taken lightly), but these are hardly the toughest games on the Redskins schedule. Even if the Giants are improved this year, the fact that it's at home is a big help.
Things that the schedule makers did that hurt the Redskins:
1. Second half of the year is very tough:
-The downside of the early part of the schedule featuring extra home games and fewer tougher opponents is that those games are going to come eventually. Unfortunately they come in a brutal six game stretch coming off the bye where the Redskins face the Vikings and Packers at home, then three straight road games (Dallas, Cardinals and Eagles), before coming home to face the Panthers. The Redskins can't count on a lot of wins during that stretch and a 3-3 split would be impressive.
2. Three straight road games:
-The most a team can have is three straight road games, but not every team ends up with that long of a road stretch in their schedule. The Redskins are unlucky enough to get three in a row this year and they are the only NFC East team that has to deal with that this season.
3. Three primetime night games:
-While it makes sense the Redskins would get some more marquee match-ups in primetime as a division winner, it is a bit disappointing given their track record. The Redskins have not fared well in night games over the years, and even last season they were just 1-2 in primetime.
4. An extra short week at the end of the season:
-The Redskins have a short week before Thanksgiving as they go from a Sunday night home game versus the Packers to the Thanksgiving game match-up versus Dallas. That is a little unfortunate to go from a night game to a road Thursday afternoon game, but every team is going to have at least one Thursday game. Later in the season the Redskins lose a couple days as well as they go from a Monday night game versus the Panthers to a Saturday 1 pm game on Christmas Eve. Now most of the NFL games that week are on Saturday versus Sunday that week, but it's just unfortunate that the Redskins have the Monday night game the week before and have to travel.
What do you think? How did the schedule turnout for the Redskins in terms of who they face when and the breakdown of the road games? Is it a net positive or negative for the Redskins season?