The Washington Redskins are a strange team to handicap this season. They are coming off a dismal year in 2013, but as with most teams in the NFL, their success relies on their quarterback. Can Robert Griffin III stay healthy for the entire season and return to his 2012 form?
The team made some wholesale changes to the coaching staff during the offseason, firing the Shanahan pairing and hiring Jay Gruden as their coach. Offensively, the team should be better, but I’m not sure if it will mean anything in his first year.
Not only will the Redskins have to work their way through the NFC East, a division from which no one escapes unscathed, but they also play the strong NFC West, which should account for a number of losses this seasons. Fortunately for the Redskins, they get a bit of a reprieve as they play the weakest division in football, the AFC South.
While their offense was a train wreck last season, their defense wasn’t much better. They ranked 15th in total defense, but their defensive line is the strongest unit on the team. Not only do they have Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo on the ends, but they also added Jason Hatcher in free agency. The Redskins also added Ryan Clark at safety, a position that has been trouble for them in the past.
Washington opens up with Houston on the road, but then they return home to play Jacksonville, two rather winnable games early in the season, but after that they have two division games against the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. Then as they enter October, they get their first taste of the NFC West as they meet the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
If the Redskins have any hope of making the playoffs, they need to play well down the stretch, specifically the final six games of the season. They have go to San Francisco and Indianapolis, but they end the season with two home games against the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, and those games could have serious playoff implications.
2014 Prediction: 8-8