Redskins schedule sets up for the spectacular

Craig Hoffman
April 17, 2019 - 8:45 pm

The Redskins schedule is out.

Washington gets a mid-season bye week for the first time in a few years. They also get two primetime games, including one against a certain former quarterback. We'll break our analysis down into "quarters" of the season, with some flexibility around the bye and the self-evidently critical final stretch of the season.

Week 1 - @ PHI

Week 2 - vs DAL

Week 3 - vs CHI (MNF)

Week 4 - @ NYG

The Redskins open the season at Philadelphia, which has been a Monday night house of horrors the past two seasons. They'll start there on a Sunday at 1 p.m., hoping for better fortunes. If Colt McCoy is the starter, he'll return to the place where his 2018 season ended.

The Redskins then come home for back-to-back games against division winners from a year ago. Dallas is Dallas and Chicago is on Monday night, so both games should have some real sizzle.

The Skins finish out the first quarter with a trip to New York, knocking out round one with the division and four NFC games to start the year. If they want to build a cushion, there's an opportunity to do it. Of course, that means the Redskins can also build quite a hole to have to dig out of.

Week 5 - vs NE

Week 6 - @ MIA

Week 7 - vs SF

Week 8 - @ MIN (TNF)

Week 9 - @ BUF

We'll push five games into this "quarter" to get to the bye week, starting with the Super Bowl champions coming to town in early October. It's always better to get New England early than late. This is typically the time of year the "Are the Patriots done?" takes are flying, not the time everyone feels stupid about them.

Miami and San Francisco are total wild card teams, and to a point, so is Minnesota. Obviously, the Vikings on a short turnaround is going to be tough, but you'd always rather have Thursday Night Football coming off a home game.

Buffalo could be a lot better this year if Josh Allen takes a step. That game is November 3rd, meaning weather could be a factor in Buffalo as well. Yes, in early November. That game will also feel very weird spaced after Thursday Night Football and before the bye.

Week 10 - BYE

Week 11 - vs NYJ

Week 12 - vs DET

Week 13 - @ CAR

Week 14 - @ GB

The Buffalo game into the bye and then New York and Detroit at home are probably seen as the softest part of the Redskins schedule as we sit here in April, but it's April. What if Sam Darnold is great and the free-agent signings pay off? What if Matt Stafford is having a monster year? There's just no way to know how these games are going to be this far out, but there are opportunities.

The Redskins then play at Carolina, which was a terrific matchup last season, and then travel to Lambeau Field, where they haven't won since 1988, to take on former assistant Matt LaFleur. Obviously, if he and Aaron Rodgers are clicking, that game is going to be tough. If they haven't figured it out or Rodgers is hurt, that game could be a nice springboard into the stretch that will almost certainly decide the season.

Week 15 - vs PHI

Week 16 - vs NYG

Week 17 - @DAL

That, of course, is the three division games to close. Two of them are at home and the final one is indoors at Jerry's place. No matter who is leading the division, the Redskins will have a chance to gain a full game on them at a critical point in the season. This is where building a football team around a competitive character, which the Redskins have tried to do with the Alabama players and beyond, can really pay off.

It's also a stretch that could lead to a coach getting fired. If the Redskins perform well in this stretch, they should be in the playoffs barring catastrophe earlier in the year. If they don't? These games will be Jay Gruden's final outings as head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Overall thoughts: The mid-season bye feels like it will come at a great time. The grind of the late season intensity with no bye the last two years has really hurt this team, even if they were already banged up early in the year. The Skins also avoid any crazy three-games-in-11-days type of stretch. In fact, the Buffalo game will be the only time Washington plays for 17 days, thanks to the bye. With the division games clumped early and late, they have a chance to start hot and finish. As mentioned above though, that also means things could go the opposite way and the season could feel dead on arrival and/or finish in the hottest of flames.

Follow Redskins reporter @CraigHoffman for more insights