John Keim looked at the Redskins schedule and thought: “7-9”.
Redskins reporter John Keim is predicting a 7-9 finish:
Sept. 8: at Philadelphia, Loss
Sept. 15: vs. Dallas, Win
Sept. 23: vs. Chicago, Loss
Sept. 29: at N.Y. Giants, Win
Oct. 6: vs. New England, Loss
Oct. 13: at Miami, Win
Oct. 20: vs. San Francisco, Win
Oct. 24: at Minnesota, Loss
Nov. 3: at Buffalo, Loss
Nov. 17: vs. N.Y. Jets, Loss
Nov. 24: vs. Detroit, Win
Dec. 1: at Carolina, Loss
Dec. 8: at Green Bay, Loss
Dec. 15: at Philadelphia, Win
Dec. 22: vs. N.Y. Giants, Win
Dec. 29: at Dallas, Loss
Strength of schedule: 32nd, .469
I looked at the 2019 schedule for the Redskins, and thought: “I like it”.
If you want to see what a brutal schedule looks like, take a look at what the NFL did to the Oakland Raiders. Boy, Mark Davis, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock must’ve really pissed off somebody important in the league office. There should be rules against how badly the Silver & Black got hosed.
The Redskins, by comparison, have a lot to be appreciative of.
- First of all, playing the NFC North and the AFC East means that the Redskins play nearly every game on this side of the Mississippi River. The longest trip the Redskins make is the annual trek to AT&T Stadium, home of the Cowboys. Less travel means a better schedule for Washington. It’s also good for Philly & NY, but puts a little extra strain on Dallas.
- Our pair of 3rd-place matchups add to the theme of staying close to home, as the Niners travel east for the late October matchup, and Green Bay is hardly more than a bus ride from DC.
- Next, playing the AFC East usually means a good opportunity to go 1-3 against AFC opponents, and, while I don’t want to throw any shade on the Jets or Bills, pretty much every other AFC division would have been a tougher draw in 2019.
- No Thanksgiving game. Good.
- In fact, with only two prime time games (the minimum requirement is one) the Redskins are playing to their strength, which is Sundays at 1pm. Bears on Monday night? Loss. In Minnesota on Thursday night for the Keenum/Cousins revenge bowl? You gotta think the intangibles in that game mean the Skins are in with a chance. Who would know better than Jay Gruden how to attack Kirk Cousins, and who has more motivation to beat the Vikings than Case Keenum?
- The Skins only play back-to-back road games twice. The first pair is @Vikings (Thurs night), @Bills (Sun), followed by the BYE. So, 10 days between Vikes & Bills, then 14 days off. The second set is @Carolina and @Green Bay in Weeks 13 & 14. Again, not huge travel distances involved, though the Frozen Tundra in December seems a bit daunting.
- No international games. Check.
- A Week 10 bye (mid-November) following two road games. Thank you, schedule makers.
- Playing 13 out of a possible 31 teams, any NFL franchise is going to face its share of rookie head coaches, and the Redskins hit 3 of them: Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, which may be challenging, but coming in Week 14 should, at least hold no surprises with regard to scheme and personnel (though, again, the weather...brrr); Brian Flores in Miami, which should be the closest thing to an easy game on offer in the NFL this season; and Adam Gase with the NY Jets, at home in Landover, the week after the BYE. Of course, Washington still has to face Belichick, but that is offset a bit, I guess, by having Pat Schurmer inside the division where we get to face him twice.
- All 4 NFC East teams will be in the dogfight down the stretch. Dallas finishes with 2 division games; Giants finish with 2 division games and 3 out of last 4; Redskins finish with 3 division games; and Philly has 4 NFCE games to finish the season! That’s excitement. The Redskins get 2 out of those 3 critical division games at home. The team is being given every opportunity to take care of business inside the division to close out the season.
- Two teams in the NFL seem to be hoping to lose as many games as possible this season: the Giants (who, with 12 picks in the draft will come to the ‘19 season with one old man and a lot of rookies) and the Dolphins, who have all but written a press release saying that they are tanking this year. They are on the Redskins schedule for a combined 3 games. I’ll take all the help we can get.
- John Keim reports in the article above that the Redskins opponents had a combined winning percentage of .469 last season - the lowest in the NFL (of course, he also reports that the Redskins are at Away twice vs. the Eagles, so he needs to be fact-checked). We all know that last year’s win percentage doesn’t predict this year’s performance for any team, but if you’re gonna start someplace, starting with the easiest predicted strength of schedule is the right place to start.
I don’t know what all this will mean in terms of wins & losses; I’d like to wait until at least a day or two after the draft to start making record predictions. It would be good to know who the starting quarterback will be, and if the Redskins will have a wide receiver or second starting safety ahead of training camp, but I can’t imagine how much more the schedule makers could have done for the Redskins in 2019.
I like it. Definitely.
This is a Good Friday!