As a series of articles, we look at game by game predictions for each NFC East team. Starting with the defending Champions; the Washington Redskins. Possibly one of the most difficult to predict after a strong showing last season, but some of the number do flatter to deceive.
So what will happen this season in weeks 15 to 17 for the Redskins:
Week 15 – Home v Carolina Panthers – LOSS
Picking this result took all of 2 seconds to decide, Panthers win. I watched the game against the Panthers with a Carolina fan last year; and other than an impressive return TD and DeSean Jackson special long shot TD there was not a lot to feel optimistic about for the Redskins in that game. They couldn’t figure out how to stop the MVP elect Cam Newton (but to be honest, who could?) and just let him dictate the tempo of the game. All this without his top target Kelvin Benjamin who could be a matchup nightmare for Josh Norman at Cornerback. It feels odd to have Luke Keuchly as an after thought in determining this outcome, but he’s the perfect counter to Jordan Reed and could really stop the Redskins from developing any drives. Unrelated note; Luke Keuchly for MVP this year anyone?
Week 16 – Away @ Chicago Bears – WIN
I my eyes, one of the biggest wins other than beating the Eagles to secure the division was the victory against Da Bears which started their 4 game win streak en route to the NFC East title. Before their win at Soldier Field, all the NFL writers were harping on about how they couldn’t win away from home and thought it would be their downfall; but this win silenced them and people finally took them seriously. The Bears are certainly a much better outfit than they were last year with a full year of John Fox at the helm and Kevin White back to full health, but their lack of competitiveness in their division may mean that the Chicago players have half an eye on their holidays and Christmas Turkey in this clash.
Week 17 – Home v NY Giants – WIN
A potentially must win tie for Cousins and the Redskins playing for the division against the Giants who also will likely be in the hunt for the NFC East at this point. With the Redskins faithful behind them at FedEx Field, I give the Redskins this one to avenge the Week 3 loss in New Jersey. In the end I think that the weak Giants secondary, despite it;s improvements in the off-season will just be too much to hide in an all-or-nothing scenario and they are left scoreboard watching to see how Dallas get on to see if they win their second consecutive NFC East Crown. I’d also have a lot of money on one of Josh Norman or Odell Beckham getting ejected from the game with tensions high, and the stakes even higher.
Summary: 9-7 Record
After a 9-7 record last season, Cousins and the Redskins replicate their record but with a much tougher schedule this is yet another step in the right direction and continues to provide some much needed stability under the still relatively inexperienced Jay Gruden. From a long-term point of view this might be exactly what the Redskins don’t need as it still leaves Kirk Cousins in a cloud of uncertainty as his demands go up for a new contract but McCloughan continues to play hard-ball. But that’s a discussion for another article.