The word Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs used to describe the team's 2005 schedule, which was announced yesterday by the NFL, was "tough."
The Redskins will open at home against Chicago on Sept. 11, play one "Monday Night Football" game at Dallas on Sept. 19 and host one prime-time game Sunday night against Philadelphia on Nov. 6.
Besides their divisional opponents, the Redskins will face the AFC West and NFC West, as well as Tampa Bay and Chicago. The Redskins will play three games against teams that finished with a worse record than their 6-10 mark -- San Francisco (2-14), Tampa Bay (5-11) and Oakland (5-11) -- and the eight teams Washington will face on the road had a 39-25 record at home last season.
"It's a tough schedule," Gibbs said. "I always look at it to see all the monsters lurking in there, but there's nothing we can do about it. We've got to play. I think it's good for the fans and gives a chance for them to see some of the best talent in the league coming in here to play us and things like that, but I think it's a tough deal."
Washington will face the Cowboys on "Monday Night Football" in Week 2 and have a bye the following week. "My preference would have been [to have the bye] maybe later," Gibbs said. "But hey, it might also work out great for us."
The Redskins will host Seattle at 1 p.m. in Week 4, then travel to two of the more imposing stadiums in the NFL on consecutive weeks, playing at Denver and Kansas City. Washington will host San Francisco on Oct. 23 and play at the New York Giants the next week before the Sunday night game with the Eagles; the Redskins do not play another game against the NFC East until December and will play their final three games against Dallas and the Giants at home before finishing at Philadelphia. Washington went 1-5 in the division last season and is 3-15 in those games over the past three seasons.
"There's some things you don't like there," Gibbs said, "but I've learned it doesn't do any good to sit around and worry about it."
The Redskins will travel to Tampa Bay in Week 10, and pair of their former coaches return to FedEx Field the following two weeks with Oakland and Norv Turner Nov. 20 and San Diego and Marty Schottenheimer Nov. 27. Washington will play at St. Louis and Arizona the following two weeks, then begin a divisional stretch.
The club will not have to travel over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays (they will host the Giants on Christmas Eve). Save for the Sunday night game, all home games will begin at 1 p.m.
Washington's preseason schedule was finalized as well. The Redskins will play at Carolina on Aug. 13, then host Cincinnati (Aug. 19), Pittsburgh (Friday Aug. 26) and travel to Baltimore on Thursday Sept. 1. All preseason games will start at 8 p.m.