at New Orleans Saints
1 p.m. (Fox)
All-time series: Redskins lead, 15-8.
Last meeting: Dec. 6, 2009, a 33-30 Saints win in overtime at FedEx Field. New Orleans, which would go on to win the Super Bowl, came in 11-0. With a seven-point lead, Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard field goal with 1 minute 52 seconds left, LaRon Landry gave up a 53-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meacham and Mike Sellers fumbled in overtime.
Outlook: What an opener. The Saints could be reeling from an offseason in which several coaches and players were suspended in the bounty scandal, or fired up because of it. Coach Sean Payton is suspended for the season, so we’ll find out whether he was truly the mastermind behind the Saints’ explosive offense, or whether quarterback Drew Brees can function without him. Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will run the team in Week 1.
at St. Louis Rams
4:05 p.m. (Fox)
All-time series: Redskins lead, 24-11-1.
Last meeting: Last season, a 17-10 Redskins win on Oct. 2 was fueled by 135 rushing yards from Ryan Torain. Washington nearly squandered a 17-point lead after two fourth-quarter interceptions by Rex Grossman, but hung on to improve to 3-1.
Outlook: If it seems like the Redskins play the Rams every year, it’s because they do. They’ll meet for the fifth consecutive season, and seventh in the past eight. But expect a different look from these Rams, because longtime Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher has taken over. With new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, expect the offense to lean more on RB Steven Jackson, so third-year QB Sam Bradford doesn’t have to do it all. LB James Laurinaitis is the heart of the defense. New CB Cortland Finnegan will help tighten up the pass defense.
vs. Cincinnati Bengals
1 p.m. (CBS)
All-time series: Series tied, 4-4.
Last meeting: A 20-13 loss in Cincinnati on Dec. 14, 2008 to the 2-11-1 Bengals ended the playoff hopes of the Jim Zorn-coached Redskins, who fell to 7-7.
Outlook: The Bengals were a surprise playoff team last season, an AFC wild card despite a third-place finish in the North Division. They owed much of their success to two rookies, QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green. They brought in RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis from New England to round out the offense. Preseason injuries to G Travelle Wharton and C Kyle Cook caused them to keep 15-year C Jeff Faine from retiring. Cincinnati finished seventh defensively last season, and the strength is up front, with DTs Geno Atkins and Domata Peko, and DEs Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson. It’s not a good matchup for the Redskins unless their offensive line gets healthy.
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4:25 p.m. (Fox)
All-time series: Buccaneers lead, 10-9.
Last meeting: An excruciating 17-16 loss at FedEx Field on Dec. 12, 2010. Donovan McNabb drove the Redskins 75 yards to an apparent tie, connecting with Santana Moss with nine seconds left. But Nick Sundberg and Hunter Smith botched the PAT snap.
Outlook: Tampa Bay lost its last 10 games under Raheem Morris, who is now the Redskins’ defensive backs coach. The Bucs pried Coach Greg Schiano away from Rutgers, signed Saints G Carl Nicks in free agency and drafted RB Doug Martin in the first round, signaling a likely shift to a run-first approach. Tampa Bay also added WR Vincent Jackson in the offseason. The Bucs were the league’s worst run-stopping team in 2011, and they don’t figure to be better, which creates an opportunity for Redskins RBs Evan Royster, Roy Helu and Alfred Morris.