The Washington Redskins will kick off the 2012 season on the road at New Orleans on Sept. 9 and will play Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, one of two nationally televised games scheduled for the team, which finished last season with a 5-11 record.
The 2012 NFL schedule released Tuesday also gives the Redskins a Monday Night Football game at FedEx Field the following week, Week 13, against the Giants.
After playing its first two games on the road - the second at St. Louis - Washington will host Cincinnati for its home opener on Sept. 23.
The times of late-season times could change due to the league’s flex scheduling system.
Here’s a closer look at the Redskins’ 2012 season:
Weigh in: How will the Redskins do this season? Give us your prediction for each Redskins game .
Week 1: Sept. 9 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
The Redskins take on a Saints team that still will be trying to find its way without suspended head coach Sean Payton and without interim coach Joe Vitt. Even so, the Saints will again have one of the league’s best offenses, thanks to QB Drew Brees, RB Darren Sproles and WR Marques Colston.
Week 2: Sept. 16 at St. Louis Rams, 4:05 p.m.
As a result of their repeated last place finishes, the Redskins and Rams will face each other for a fifth consecutive season. Mike Shanahan and new Rams coach Jeff Fisher are close friends and Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett once served as defensive coordinator and interim head coach in St. Louisl. It was the Rams who traded the second pick of the draft to Washington in exchange for the 2011 first- and second-round picks, and first-round picks in both 2013 and 2014.
Week 3: Sept. 23 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
The Redskins aim to pull off a feat similar to the one the 2011 Bengals accomplished. Cincinnati surrounded rookie quarterback Andy Dalton with a stingy defense, an effective running game and talented receivers, and posted a 9-7 campaign, earning a wild card playoff berth. Now, the Bengals want to take another step forward.
Week 4: Sept. 30 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:15 p.m.
New Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris faces the team he served as head coach for the last three seasons. If they remain healthy, the game also will feature a meeting between the NFL’s ironmen – Washington’s London Fletcher and Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber – both of whom enter the season having played 224 consecutive games.
Week 5: Oct. 7 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
The Falcons, coming off of a 10-6 campaign, ranked seventh in the NFL in scoring (25.1 points a game) last season and expect Julio Jones to build on a rookie season when he recorded 54 catches for 959 yards and eight touchdowns. But Atlanta lost both its offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator during the offseason.
Week 6: Oct. 14 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 4:15 p.m.
The Vikings visit the Redskins for a second consecutive year, and look to pick up their third consecutive victory over Washington. In last year’s Christmas Eve meeting, Minnesota overcame the loss of both quarterback Christian Ponder and running back Adrian Peterson to win, 33-26, behind backups Joe Webb and Toby Gerhart.
Week 7: Oct. 21 at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
The league’s longest-running rivalry is renewed as the Redskins visit the defending Super Bowl champs. Two of Washington’s five victories in 2011 came against the Giants, who figure to welcome the Redskins’ quarterback to the NFC East with a physical attack led by pass rushers Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.
Week 8: Oct. 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
In their first regular season meeting since 2008, the Redskins figure to face a challenging assignment as they take on Ben Roethlisberger & Co. on offense and James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and the gang on defense.
Week 9: Nov. 4 vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
This meeting is expected to feature a meeting between the last two Heisman Trophy winners: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and the Redskins Robert Griffin III. In his first meeting with the Redskins last season, Newton passed for 256 yards (completing a season-high 78.3 percent of his passes) and a touchdown. He also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown in Carolina’s 33-20 victory.
Week 10: Nov. 11 Bye
Week 11: Nov. 18 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
In a game that is expected to feature the first duel between Robert Griffin III and the quarterback he is often compared to, Philadelphia’s Michael Vick, the Redskins try to reverse their home fortunes against the Eagles. Washington has lost three straight home games to the Eagles. Last season’s 20-13 loss at FedEx Field began the 1-5 skid that ended Washington’s season.
Week 12: Nov. 22 at Dallas Cowboys, 4:15 p.m.
Washington pays Dallas a visit for its first Thanksgiving Day game since 2002. It also could be Robert Griffin III’s first professional game in his home state. The Redskins have lost three straight games in Dallas. Their last victory on the Cowboys’ home turf came Sept. 28, 2008.
Week 13: Dec. 3 vs. New York Giants, 8:30 p.m.
In their second meeting of the season, Washington will either aim for a second consecutive sweep of the Giants,or look to avenge an early season loss. It’s been a while since a late-season meeting between these teams meant something. Will things change this year?
Week 14: Dec. 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m.
The hard-running Ray Rice comes to town, one of the toughest assignments of the season for the Redskins defense. Meanwhile, Washington’s offensive linemen will try to fend off Terrell Suggs and his mates to give a rookie quarterback time to make plays.
Week 15: Dec. 16 at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
The Browns wanted the chance to draft Robert Griffin III, but Washington outbid them, agreeing to send three first-round picks and a second-rounder to St. Louis. Neither team exactly lit it up the last time these two rebuilding franchises faced each other in 2008, as Washington squeaked out a 14-11 victory at FedEx Field.
Week 16: Dec. 23 at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Swept by the Eagles in 2011, the Redskins look to reverse their fortunes in Lincoln Financial Field. A lot could be riding on this meeting if the teams are battling for a playoff spot.
Week 17: Dec. 30 vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
The Redskins welcome the arch-rival Cowboys, and attempt to beat Dallas at home for the first time since the 2010 season opener, when Washington pulled off a 13-7 victory.