The 2019 season is almost here. I am making early season predictions for how I believe the Redskins will do this season. For what it's worth, I am making these predictions with Trent Williams on the team. Still, a lot that can develop on that front, and he may not be on the team this coming season. Predictions are hard because some teams exceed expectations while others fail to live up to them. The games that look easy and winnable on paper are not always the case when the season comes around. For what it's worth, here are my predictions.
Redskins 16 Eagles 31
To kick off the 2019 season, the Redskins travel to Philadelphia. Division games tend to be tightly contested and hard-fought. The Redskins have made improvements at some key positions and are a better team than last year. However, the Eagles are simply the better of the two teams and have a potential MVP at quarterback. I believe Keenum starts the season but will struggle to move the ball against a good Eagles' defense. Wentz throws three touchdowns as Philly cruises.
Redskins 20 Cowboys 28
After getting off to a sluggish start in week 1, the Redskins kick off the home opener against none other than the Dallas Cowboys. Let's hope this home opener see a bigger turnout in fan attendance than last years. The first game between these two came down to a missed field goal last year before Dallas rolled on Thanksgiving. This game will be tight, as it will be a one-possession game for a majority of the game. Washington will get the ball back with a chance to potentially tie late it but will fail to and waste a solid day on the ground from Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice.
Redskins 13 Bears 27
Monday Night games have not been kind to Jay Gruden since he took over as coach. The Redskins were throttled by the Saints last year before losing their second Monday Night game to the Eagles. This trend continues as they face a tough Bears team. Khalil Mack is an absolute game wrecker and will have a big game. Keenum will struggle again, but a great outing by the Washington defense will keep it close before a late Mitch Trubisky touchdown puts the game out of reach and drops Washington to 0-3.
Redskins 21 Giants 17
Much like last season, there is going to be an early game that will be a gut-check for Washington. After getting embarrassed by the Saints last year, they rebounded with three straight quality wins. The Giants are a team in transition and after trading Odell Beckham, do not have the talent the Redskins do outside of Saquon Barkley. Keenum has an okay outing while Derrius Guice has his first breakout game as a pro finding the endzone twice. Landon Collins gets an interception against his old team to help avoid an 0-4 start.
Redskins 10 Patriots 35
This is arguably the toughest matchup of the year for the Redskins. Tom Brady still shows no signs of slowing down as he takes advantage of the Redskins' secondary with the quick dink and dunk passes that we have grown accustomed to. This game is personal for Guice as the Patriots were the team he was facing when he went down in the preseason last year. He will find the endzone and have a solid game. But, Bill Belichick uses his deep and talented secondary to minimize Washington's passing game as the offense sputters. This is when the change to Dwayne Haskins is made.
Redskins 20 Dolphins 13
After the Patriots game, the Redskins schedule lightens up over the next couple months, and Washington gets back to its winning ways. Miami was projected by some to have the #1 pick in the coming 2020 draft. They have a new quarterback, coach, and are a team that is lacking overall talent. This is a game the Redskins must and will win. Dwayne Haskins throws a couple of touchdowns in his first start while the defense keeps the Dolphins out of the endzone until the 4th quarter in a complete team effort to give Haskins his first win as a pro.
Redskins 21 49ers 20
The Redskins return to FedExField to face their former offensive coordinator and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. This figures to be a tough matchup. I expect Haskins to continue to provide an offensive spark that Keenum couldn't, while the defense does a great job of stopping the run and limiting what Jimmy Garoppolo does through the air. Guice and Peterson run for over 125 yards combined and score two touchdowns while the Redskins do just enough to survive.
Redskins 27 Vikings 17
On a short week, The Redskins travel to Minnesota to square off against Kirk Cousins. Minnesota took a huge step back last year with Cousins under center and will be looking to rebound this season. Despite being on a short week, the Redskins come in with an excellent game plan and execute it. Greg Manusky and company scheme up a great defensive game plan to keep Cousins and his talented receivers in check as Guice adds a late touchdown to put the game out of reach and get the Redskins back to .500.
Redskins 24 Bills 21
The Redskins travel Buffalo now in the discussion for a wild card spot. Washington lucked out when the schedule was released, as Buffalo is a tough place to win in December. The Bills are an up and coming team with a top defense and a young, potential franchise quarterback, so this should be an exciting game. Both defenses will make plays that will help shorten the field for the offenses. Jordan Reed will catch a redzone touchdown and Guice will have a steady day. Washington will have the ball on the last possession and win on a long Dustin Hopkins field goal to run their winning streak to four.
Redskins 24 Jets 16
The New York Jets are next up. This is another team that has potential but is still a year or two away from being truly competitive. Sam Darnold showed some promise last year but is still just in his second year working with a pedestrian receiving corps. Dwayne Haskins will continue to lift the offense with two more touchdown passes. The defense will continue to impress and hold the Jets to three field goals and a touchdown. While games after bye weeks have been incredibly tough on Jay Gruden, this strong defensive performance will be just enough to get the Redskins by and earn their first five-game winning streak under him.
Redskins 14 Lions 21
All good things must come to an end. The Detriot Lions come to town in a pivotal week 12 matchup. While this is a game that the Redskins can and should win, this is also the type of game where they tend to play down to their opponent, and it will come back to bite them. Matthew Stafford makes some timely plays for Detroit while Dwayne Haskins does not. Two costly second-half turnovers will be enough to sink the Redskins while Derrius Guice continues his breakout campaign.
Redskins 17 Panthers 31
Last year, the Redskins season appeared to be on the brink before a late redzone stand preserved a 23-17 win against the Panthers and sparked a three-game winning streak. This year, the Redskins have to play on the road, and Carolina has proven to be very tough at home. Cam Newton throws two touchdowns and runs for another. Dwayne Haskins throws for a touchdown and Chris Thompson scores, but the Panthers are simply the better team and get revenge for last year.
Redskins 10 Packers 31
This was a game that the Redskins were hoping to play in the early part of the season. Washington played one of their best games last year as they beat Green Bay 31-17 in an early week 3 game. This is not the case this time as a December game is in the works. Green Bay is a very tough place to play at in December and Aaron Rodgers is almost unbeatable at home late in the season. Due to the weather conditions, Washington fails to get anything going offensively and the defense cannot stop Aaron Rodgers as he throws for three touchdowns and drops Washington to 6-7 on the season.
Redskins 16 Eagles 34
The last time the Eagles traveled to Washington, they took over FedExField and clinched a playoff berth. Much of the same scenario plays out this year as the Eagles will lock up at least a wild-card spot, but not the division yet as they improve 10-4. Dwayne Haskins has a tough time handling the Eagles vaunted pass rush and the running game cannot get going as the Eagles jump out to an early lead and never look back and officially eliminate the Redskins from the playoffs.
Redskins 24 Giants 20
After officially being eliminated from the playoffs again, the Redskins face the Giants in their 2019 home finale. I still expect the Redskins to play hard this game. The Giants should be eliminated from playoff contention as well, so this game is about bragging rights. Dwayne Haskins plays a solid game and leads a couple of scoring drives while Montez Sweat racks up a couple of sacks in a potential defensive rookie of the year campaign. Saquon Barkley gets bottled up by the Redskins' run defense and Eli Manning throws a late interception.
Redskins 21 Cowboys 27
The Redskins will have a chance to get to .500 and potentially save Jay Gruden's job, so this will be a competitive game. The Cowboys will be playing for a playoff spot they will be pulling out all the stops. The defense does a great job of bottling up Ezekiel Elliot early on, but as the game goes on he starts to make some plays. Guice counters what Elliot does and Haskins gets the Redskins in front with five minutes to play. Dak Prescott will make the plays late to win for Dallas and leave Washington at 7-9 for the season.
Bottom Line: As a die-hard fan, it kills me to put this team at 7-9, but this is right around where I see them finishing again. If they have a few games break right, they can be 9-7. I might have been overly optimistic putting a five-game winning streak in, but I believe those are winnable games. There are still talent deficiencies at key positions on this roster and they will be presumably starting a rookie quarterback at some point, but I can see Haskins getting out to a fast start during the favorable part of the schedule before struggling down the stretch. 7-9 realistically isn't good enough to save Gruden's job unless Haskins runs away with OROY and shows a great rapport with him so do I expect change this coming off-season.