The Washington Post

Redskins’ 2011 schedule is NFL’s 4th-easiest

After going 6-10 while playing the eighth most-difficult schedule in the NFL last season, the Washington Redskins appear to have an easier road in the 2011 NFL season.

The Redskins’ 2011 opponents went a combined 121-135 for a .473 winning percentage, last season, and only three four of them – the Jets, Patriots, Seahawks and Eagles -- made the playoffs in 2010.

Washington’s schedule ranks fourth-easiest in the NFL, after only Arizona (.441), Baltimore (.457) and San Francisco (.465). The Pittsburgh Steelers’ and Cincinnati Bengals’ schedules are the same difficulty as the Redskins’.

The most difficult schedule belongs to the Carolina Panthers, who last season went 2-14 and have the first pick in next week’s draft. Carolina’s 2011 opponents went a combined 142-114 in 2010, a .555 clip.

The Redskins open the year against an NFC East opponent, the New York Giants, who last season went 10-6 but missed the playoffs. From there, they play Arizona, which went 5-11 last year. Up next is a date with another divisional foe: the Dallas Cowboys, who last season went 6-10 and split games with Washington. The Redskins won the season opener over their rivals by a score of 13-7. But Dallas pulled off a 33-30 victory in the rematch in December.

The Week 3 meeting with Dallas this season is the Redskins’ only primetime matchup of the year. Games against St. Louis (7-9 last year), Philadelphia (10-6), Carolina, Buffalo (4-12), San Francisco (6-10), Miami (7-9), Dallas, Seattle (7-9), the New York Jets (11-5), New England (14-2), the Giants, Minnesota (6-10) and Philadelphia all will be played at either 1 p.m. or 4:05 p.m.

“Hey, that’s fine. No primetime games,” said linebacker Brian Orakpo. “I hate those. We don’t do well in those. Only 1 o’clock games, please.”

The Redskins last season had three prime time games and went 1-2 on the national stage. The win over the Cowboys was the first, before a 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts and a 59-28 drubbing by the Eagles.

Starting times of Redskins’ games late in the season could be changed because of the NFL’s flex scheduling system. But if Washington isn’t competing for a playoff spot, they aren’t likely to have their games moved back to nationally-televised times.

Five teams -- Tennessee, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona and Carolina – don’t play a single prime time game this season. All of those teams posted losing records last year.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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