Are the Redskins better than an 8-8 team in 2017?
The Redskins are a team that went through a lot of changes during the offseason They’ve got a new offensive coordinator in Matt Cavanaugh, who’s taking over for Sean McVay, now the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry was fired and replaced by Greg Manusky. They lost a pair of talented, albeit older wide receivers in DeSean Jackson (to Tampa Bay) and Pierre Garcon (to San Francisco). And they play one of the tougher schedules in the league, battling with the competitive NFC East to face some quality opposition in the NFC West and AFC West.
Here’s one way to temper expectations for the new season: Check out what the gambling public thinks. Every year, sportsbooks release their win-loss totals for the regular season; you can bet on any team to finish over or under the posted total. A site like Bovada will have lines for these totals, they’ve got a total of 7.5 wins on the board for Washington, with ‘over’ priced at –130. This makes 8-8 the most likely finish for the Redskins this year.
Wiping the Slate
Of course, you can say that about almost any NFL team. Most games are closer to a coin flip than most people realize. But if we take a closer look at the Redskins’ schedule for 2017, and the odds that have already been released for every single game (except for Week 17), it might take some extra effort to surpass 8-8:
Week 1 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Week 2 at Los Angeles Rams (+2)
Week 6 vs. San Francisco 49ers (+8)
Week 10 vs. Minnesota Vikings (+1.5)
Week 12 vs. New York Giants (+1)
Week 15 vs. Arizona Cardinals (+2)
Week 3 vs. Oakland Raiders (–1)
Week 4 at Kansas City Chiefs (–5)
Week 7 at Philadelphia Eagles (–2.5)
Week 8 vs. Dallas Cowboys (–2.5)
Week 9 at Seattle Seahawks (–8)
Week 11 at New Orleans Saints (–2.5)
Week 13 at Dallas Cowboys (–7)
Week 14 at Los Angeles Chargers (–1.5)
Week 16 vs. Denver Broncos (–1)
The Redskins are favored in 6 games, and underdogs in the other 10(Week 17 away vs Giants included as underdog). If those odds play out, Washington finishes 6-10 and likely earns last place in the NFC East. This would obviously be another let down after finishing 8-7-1 last season and missing their playoff shot with a Week 17 loss to the Giants. They are also a season removed from winning the division, and having a disappointing first round loss in the playoffs.
Running to Stand Still
The good news here is that six of those projected losses have Washington as an underdog by less than a field goal. But four of the projected wins fall into the same category, and the season opener has the Redskins favored by exactly three points over the Eagles. All 11 of these games are very much in coin flip territory. We can look closer these odds and see which games are most likely to flip from losses to wins and vice versa.
That Week 16 game at home against the Broncos is at the top of the list. Denver just missed the playoffs last year at 9-7, but they’ve got some question marks at quarterback with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, and their NFL-best defense is liable to come back down to earth this year following the exit of DC Wade Phillips and other changes. Week 3 against the visiting Raiders should be interesting; this is supposed to be a team on the rise after going 12-4 in 2016, but is Marshawn Lynch the answer at running back? The Redskins visit former OC Sean McVay’s new team in Los Angeles which should be a win for Washington. And division games in Philadelphia and hosting the Cowboys will be the usual NFC East dog fights. Flip those games from L to W and you’re are looking at a minimum of 8 wins in 2017.
How many wins will the Redskins have in 2017?
This poll is closed