By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010; D04
Mike Shanahan's first game as coach of the Washington Redskins will come against the team's biggest rival, the Dallas Cowboys, in a Sunday night encounter at FedEx Field, the first of three national, prime-time games -- all at home -- for Washington. The Redskins will close the season by hosting another NFC East opponent, the New York Giants, part of the NFL's plan to finish the season with as many intradivision games as possible.
The season opener at 8:20 p.m. Sept. 12 will be broadcast by NBC, and will be followed by another "Sunday Night Football" appearance Oct. 17 against AFC champion Indianapolis. The Redskins' only "Monday Night Football" game is on Nov. 15 against Philadelphia, a game that will be carried by ESPN and will feature new Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb against his former team.
McNabb, acquired in a trade with the Eagles last month, will appear as a visiting player in Philadelphia for the first time in Week 4, when the Redskins travel for a 4:15 p.m. Oct. 3 date at Lincoln Financial Field. McNabb spent the first 11 years of his career with the Eagles.
The Redskins, like all NFL teams, knew their opponents and the sites of non-division games months ago, but the NFL released the dates of games and the prime-time matchups Tuesday night, establishing the flow of the 2010 regular season. The Redskins' schedule ranks eighth toughest in the league based on the opponents' cumulative .523 winning percentage, according to the NFL. Travel, though, should not be an issue. Washington does not make a single trip to the West Coast; its longest trip is to Dallas in Week 15.
After opening the season against Dallas, the Redskins remain at home in Week 2 to face Houston at 4:15 p.m. on Sept. 19, a chance for new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Mike's son, to face the team that generated the most passing yards in the league a year ago, when Kyle Shanahan served as its offensive coordinator.
The Redskins will then play at St. Louis -- the worst team in the league in 2009 -- at 4:05 p.m. on Sept. 26 before McNabb's return trip to Philadelphia. That matchup with the Eagles will be the first of three straight games against teams that went to the playoffs a season ago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay into FedEx Field at 1 p.m. on Oct. 10, a week before the Sunday night game against Peyton Manning and the Colts, another 8:20 p.m. kickoff.
The Redskins play two road games against NFC North teams -- 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at Chicago and 1 p.m. Oct. 31 at Detroit, where they will travel for the third straight season -- before their bye in Week 9. The Monday night game in Philadelphia, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m., follows the bye week, meaning the Redskins will have 15 days between games in Weeks 8 and 10.
The Redskins travel to Tennessee Nov. 21, then host Minnesota on Nov. 28, three days after Thanksgiving. They close the schedule with three NFC East games in five weeks -- Dec. 5 at the Giants, Dec. 19 at Dallas and the Jan. 2 finale against the Giants at FedEx Field. Those games sandwich a Dec. 12 home game against Tampa Bay and a Dec. 26 trip to Jacksonville.
The last seven games of the season are scheduled for 1 p.m., but some could move to later time slots if television networks deem the games more attractive than matchups tentatively in place.