During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Washington Redskins easiest games are the focus.
Washington Redskins Easiest Games in 2016
9. Week 12 at Dallas Cowboys
One of the most storied rivalries in NFL history, Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys, is a Thanksgiving treat. Playoff implications will loom as the Redskins enter AT&T Stadium. Washington will be facing a quarterback/wide receiver combination of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant that has a great rapport. Expect to see Bryant and tight end Jason Witten heavily targeted in the matchup. The Redskins have a tendency to split wins with the Cowboys each year, no matter how good the teams are on paper. The outcome of this game may depend heavily on which team won their previous Week two meeting. Ideally, Redskins signal caller Kirk Cousins shouldn’t have too hard of a time carving the Cowboys mediocre defense and leading his team to a win.
10. Week 2 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Former Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman smothered Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant the last time they lined up. The Redskins obviously would like that performance to repeat itself. Either way, it will be an epic battle. The true test for Washington will be if they can stop, or at least slow down, the Cowboys rushing attack. Behind a physical offensive line, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot and ex-Redskin Alfred Morris will look to slow down the game and drain the crowd’s energy. The Redskins vast array of pass catchers should eventually wear the porous Cowboys defense down. Without Rolando McClain‘s presence, Cousins should be able to sustain drives and put Washington’s rivals away at home.
11. Week 14 at Philadelphia Eagles
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are a mess right now. However, Lincoln Financial Field is always a hostile environment for any visiting team, let alone the rival Redskins. The last time Washington was in Philly, NFC East supremacy was on the line. A 38-24 Redskins victory was the outcome as Washington cruised to an NFC East title. Their biggest obstacle in Week 14, Fletcher Cox, signed a monster contract this off-season. The Eagles are switching to a 4-3 defense, one that increases Cox’s likelihood of pressuring the quarterback. Cousins will have to get the ball out quickly on passing downs in order to keep Cox at bay. If Cousins can do that, this game is very winnable.
12. Week 5 at Baltimore Ravens
It’s almost silly to call this one a road game. The Redskins “Battle of the Beltway” game versus the Baltimore Ravens takes place a mere 30 miles north of FedEx Field. Fans of both teams will be in full throttle, negating a true home-field advantage. The Redskins will be facing a team that was decimated by injuries last year. In what other scenario would Jimmy Clausen and Matt Schaub both start at quarterback in Baltimore? These two teams last matched up off the field back in March, in a Twitter squabble about “adequate quarterbacks,” and the Redskins came out on top. Week five will present a chance for that score to be settled once and for all. Jay Gruden‘s team should feel good about their chances in this one, as Kirk Cousins’ offensive weapons heavily outweigh the Ravens wounded receiving corps.
13. Week 16 at Chicago Bears
These aren’t your dad’s Chicago Bears. While John Fox is one of the NFL’s most defensive-minded head coaches. While quarterback Jay Cutler continues to boast the highest valued contract in league history ($126 million), his on-field performance has fallen short of the Bears expectations. Chicago also lost running back Matt Forte, couldn’t agree on a long term deal with Alshon Jeffery, and only signed legend Charles Tillman back so that he could retire. Most likely this Week 16 matchup will feature a Redskins team in the thick of the playoff hunt and the Bears having only pride to play for. As long as Ryan Kerrigan and the defense prevent Cutler from making big plays, the Redskins should emerge victorious.
14. Week 7 at Detroit Lions
Marvin Jones was signed to fill the number one receiver vacancy Calvin Johnson left behind in Detroit. No matter how you analyze it, that’s a major downgrade. Josh Norman won’t be complaining at all in Week seven. His Redskins will be favored on the road against the Detroit Lions, a franchise mired in between rebuilding and mediocrity. A key factor in securing a Redskins victory will be limiting second year back Ameer Abdullah from getting in rhythm. While Abdullah has yet to post a highlight performance in his NFL career yet, he has the skill set to do so. Chris Baker and Kedric Golston can play a huge role in limiting Abdullah by winning in the trenches.
15. Week 6 vs Philadelphia Eagles
Divisional games are tricky; it’s even more difficult to predict the outcome of these matchups. However, the Eagles have a quarterback carousel and a new head coach. As the Redskins know all too well, that’s a recipe for disaster. Last year, Washington survived a ferocious second-half Sam Bradford comeback and outlasted the Eagles 23-20. Bradford hasn’t had much of a confidence boost since then. Back in April, he asked for a trade and skipped an off-season workout. Blitzing early and often will rattle Bradford, while simultaneously stifling Ryan Matthews in the backfield. With their home turf as another advantage, the Redskins should outlast their division foe.
16. Week 4 vs Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns went 3-13 last season and then lost almost every bright spot they actually had. Donte Whitner and other valuable starters were swept away in free agency. Bringing in Hue Jackson as the new head coach appears to be a smart move, but it’s clear that the Browns are in a rebuilding stage. The Redskins outmatch them in every phase of the game on paper and should win rather easily. But it is important to keep mind that this will be Robert Griffin III’s return to FedEx Field.
Be sure and check out the eight most difficult games on the Redskins schedule.