Expect Big Things Out Of The 'Skins In 2014
What if I were to tell you that the Washington Redskins would make the playoffs in 2014? But who in their right mind would predict something outrageous like that after a 3-13 record in 2013? This guy would, right here.
The Redskins have been one of the most confusing NFL teams of the last decade. Whether it's from the revolving door of head coaches to the fluctuating records, Washington has been one of the most unreliable and disappointing teams. But, given their current mix of players acquired via free agency and draft and their new head coach, I think it's finally time for some stability in the capital. And this period of success will start in 2014.
Good news for Washington fans, their Redskins (or soon-to-be-renamed team) will not have another .500 or sub-.500 season in 2014, which has occurred in 11 of the last 14 seasons. Here is my game-by-game season predictions for next season:
Week 1: Washington Redskins 27- 10 Houston Texans (Win)
The Texans are coming off a league-worst 2-14 season. They will be looking to regain some ground next year with a team led by journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even though Houston will have number one overall DE Jadeveon Clowney, I expect the 'Skins to win an easy one. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon will eat up a weak Houston secondary.
Week 2: Washington Redskins 35- 23 Jacksonville Jaguars (Win)
Jacksonville fared one win better than Washington last season, but they are in a completely different state as a franchise than the Redskins. The Jaguars just drafted another quarterback in the first round and are in rebuilding mode like they have been since 2007. QB Blake Bortles and his weapons in rookie WR Marqise Lee and WR Cecil Shorts III may generate some offense, but Washington is too strong of a team. Top to bottom, the Jaguars' and Redskins' rosters are miles apart when it comes to talent and experience.
Week 3: Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 Washington Redskins (Loss)
The Redskins first loss of the season will come to their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. But this will be a close, hard-fought game and won't be a disappointment. The Eagles were 10-6 last season and won the NFC East, and are one of the teams on the rise in the league. This game will be in Philly, which I believe will give the Eagles the slight advantage. This will be Washington's first test of 2014, which I think they will learn from and will use those lessons moving on through the season.
Week 4: Washington Redskins 27 - 10 New York Giants (Win)
I do not see great improvements from the Giants. Defensively, they are still a giant mess, and Washington will have one of the best offenses this upcoming season. The Redskins offense will outmatch the Giants defense greatly, and I feel that this will be the first great defensive showing by the 'Skins in Week 4. With questions at running back still and Eli Manning having only one real target in WR Victor Cruz, the Giants will struggle to score points in this matchup.
Week 5: Washington Redskins 28 - 17 Seattle Seahawks (Win)
Yes, I know how crazy it looks predicting the reigning Super Bowl champs will lose to the team that had the second-worst record in football the season before. But I'm predicting somewhat of a Super Bowl slump from Seattle, and the Redskins will be just that much more improved. And this game is in Washington, not the Seahawks coveted CenturyLink Field. I predict the Redskins will make their first big splash of the season with a win over Seattle.
Week 6: Arizona Cardinals 27 - 24 Washington Redskins (Loss)
The Cardinals finished 10-6 in 2013 and have all of their players returning. Arizona had the sixth best overall defense last season, which could very well find ways to slow down Washington's offense. Plus, this game is in Arizona, and the Cardinals were 6-2 at home in 2013. The Redskins will pick up their second loss of the season to a tough Arizona team in the desert.
Week 7: Washington Redskins 33 - 14 Tennessee Titans (Win)
Like the Giants game, the 'Skins will be playing a team that hasn't done much to improve in the offseason. The Titans have made moves to make QB Jake Locker their starter, and they are now without RB Chris Johnson. The Titans ranked 19th in points scored and 22nd in yards per game in 2013, which they will need to greatly improve upon if they are to keep up with Washington's high-octane offense. Locker is more of a move-the-chains and protect-the-ball type of quarterback, so I don't expect many points from Tennessee, especially given the Redskins improved defense.
Week 8: Washington Redskins 35 - 28 Dallas Cowboys (Win)
Always expect a shootout when you go to Big D. This will be a great offensive matchup. QB Robert Griffin III, DeSean Jackson and RB Alfred Morris versus QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant and RB DeMarco Murray. The Redskins are favorable in this matchup as I feel their opponent’s offense doesn't quite stack up to their own, and the Cowboys have no defense. The 'Boys ranked dead last in yards allowed per game, and they gave up the seventh most points, 27 per game, in 2013. Nonetheless, the Cowboys will put on a show in Jerry World and this will be a one score game.
Week 9: Washington Redskins 28 - 13 Minnesota Vikings (Win)
The Vikings will have the almighty RB Adrian Peterson on their side, but he won't be enough to carry the Vikings to victory. Minnesota will be starting one of three quarterbacks: rookie Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel. None are favorable quarterbacks, and they won't give Peterson added support. Defensively, Minnesota gave up the second most yards per game last season, and when you have Jackson and Garçon running around, their 2013 colors will shine through.
Week 10: Bye
Coming into the bye week, Washington will be sitting pretty at 7-2. Wow, I bet you didn't expect that. However, the Redskins did have a considerable amount of favorable matchups against below average teams. Their only impressive win came against the Seahawks, and their two losses came at the hands of the second and third best teams on their pre-bye-week schedule: the Eagles and Cardinals. Expect a much rougher second half of the season.
Week 11: Washington Redskins 24 - 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Win)
I expect the Bucs to give the Redskins a tough time in their first game after the bye week. Tampa Bay had high expectations in 2013 and did not come close to living up to them as they finished 4-12. Now, they are returning with QB Josh McCown, RB Doug Martin, veteran WR Vincent Jackson and rookie WR Mike Evans. Defensively, they have CB Alterraun Verner, DE Gerald McCoy and FS Dashon Goldson. This Bucs team isn't one to be trifled with. I expect this to be a close one, with Washington just edging out the victory. But beware, tough times will follow.
Week 12: San Francisco 49ers 30 - 21 Washington Redskins (Loss)
This will be the toughest game of the season for Washington, no question. The 49ers are my Super Bowl favorite, and they only got better in the offseason. Their entire offense and defense is still intact from last year, and they've added WR Stevie Johnson to QB Colin Kaepernick's arsenal of weapons. This team, to me, is the best and most dangerous in the NFL, and they will give the Redskins absolute hell. Washington will fight hard to put up some late points, but they'll be away on the east coast, and I predict the 49ers will go up big early.
Week 13: Indianapolis Colts 35 - 27 Washington Redskins (Loss)
Negative energy will carry over from the previous week's loss as the Redskins square off against QB Andrew Luck and his Colt's team in Indy. On turf, we should expect quite a show from these two offenses, but I feel the Colts offense will be the stronger of the two as they're at home and have more experience. A loss the previous week to a great defense could expose some holes in the Redskins offense that the Colts will look to take advantage of. And the Redskins will fall prey to playing playoff teams in back-to-back weeks.
Week 14: St. Louis Rams 24 - 17 Washington Redskins (Loss)
The Redskins will experience their third straight loss and first loss at home in Week 14. They'll be beaten up from their previous two defeats that came on the road, and they'll stagger into this game not at 100 percent. The Rams were an unusual team last season, as they finished 7-9 but managed victories over the Colts, Cardinals and Saints. I expect them to be an even tougher team this season, and they'll matchup well against the Redskins on both sides of the ball. With DEs Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the field, RGIII will have a lot to watch out for. And the Rams offense will feature RB Zac Stacy and WRs Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt.
Week 15: Washington Redskins 38 - 14 New York Giants (Win)
The Redskins will be coming off of three straight losses and will be hungry for their first win in four weeks. A still re-tooling Giants team won't know what hit them as the Redskins will fly off the starting gates in this one. I predict a blowout victory for Washington.
Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles 28-27 Washington Redskins (Loss)
Expect a game for the ages. Both teams will be looking to secure the NFC East at this point in the season. Washington will be on a high after a big victory at the Meadowlands, and they'll want to avenge their previous loss to Philly. However, I feel the Eagles have more experience together, offensively and defensively, and will stay the stronger side in a very crucial divisional game.
Week 17: Washington Redskins 30 - 17 Dallas Cowboys (Win)
The Redskins will finish off the season on a good note with a win over a weak Dallas team in D.C. At this point, the Cowboys will be thankful that it's the end of the season and the Redskins will be looking to end the season on a win to finish 10-6. Once again, Washington's offense will be way too much for a depleted Dallas defense. And Romo, Bryant and Murray can only do so much to counteract their abysmal defense, as they will play a much improved Washington defense.
I expect a 10-6 season record from Washington in 2014. They'll open up the season with a bang by starting 8-2, but they'll finish off 2-4. In their first 10 games, they'll have an impressive win over the reigning Super Bowl champions, but most of their wins will come against weak teams. In their last six games, they'll struggle against playoff and Super Bowl contenders, but will manage to keep their feet enough to finish with double digit wins and most likely a wild card berth. A 10-win season will be a seven-win increase from 2013.
The Redskins offense will be explosive in 2014, and they will matchup with the likes of Denver, Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Their defense will be a much better unit as Mike Shanahan won't be breathing down defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's neck and all their starters will be returning, plus the additions of DT Jason Hatcher, S Ryan Clark and rookie DE Trent Murphy. This should be the first successful season in a line of multiple successful seasons to come over the rest of this decade.