So we said goodbye to Chris and hello to Crezdon.
And while roster shuffling is fun and all, it’s game week. Thank Jesus, or whoever you prefer to thank in these situations. Before you know it, there will be Robert Griffin III making his Redskins debut — it will all be really happening — and perhaps upsetting the Saints.
The Redskins were 5-11 last season, but recall how they piled up a lot of those losses: They blew two games against the Cowboys, letting a late lead slip in an 18-16 loss, and falling by a field goal in overtime. They led the Jets, 16-13, in the fourth quarter of a 34-19 loss. They knocked Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson out of the Vikings game, which was tied at 23 in the fourth quarter, and managed to lose by a touchdown.
Tilt those close losses to wins, and the 5-11 team is 9-7, same record as the NFC East and Super Bowl champion Giants last season.
And that doesn’t even count the Patriots (tied at 27 in a 34-27 loss), Dolphins (trailed 13-9 in the fourth) or second Eagles (trailed 13-10 in the fourth quarter of a 34-10 loss) defeats.
The Redskins went 2-5 in the final seven games, but led or were tied in the fourth quarter of six of the games, and trailed by three against the Eagles.
I’m not making excuses for last season so much as expressing shock that the Redskins are such an unpopular preseason pick.
There’s not a whole lot of science to making NFL predictions, but knowing that about half of the 12 playoff teams turn over every season, the first thing you look for is a team that lost a lot of close games and had a good offseason.
Washington had an inability to finish last year, without a doubt. But anyone out there think Robert Griffin III can’t be the difference in a game decided by a field goal? He doesn’t even have to have a Cam Newton rookie year (and let’s face it, he probably won’t). He just has to not throw bonehead interceptions, which seems reasonably attainable for a man of his intelligence.
I don’t have to run down the rest of the offseason comings and goings, because you guys know them. Pierre Garcon might not be a traditional No. 1 receiver — which by the way is a fine term for fantasy football, but is pretty vague and meaningless when discussing actual NFL offenses — but he put up Jabar Gaffney’s numbers last season (oddly, they both had 947 receiving yards, with five and six TDs) with Curtis Painter throwing to him.
Presumably Fred Davis and Trent Williams won’t smoke away another four games. And so on.
Last time I brought this up, this was in the comments:
RedskinsHottie: “2-14. 3-13 – Man, we still get no respect. But it is what it is … But I understand why folks think that. ‘Horrible’ o-line. Rookie QB. Very suspect secondary. New WRs … but I think the upgrades themselves make us a better team and get us more wins.”
beep-beep: “We’ll get the respect when we earn it. We haven’t earned it since forever.“
This is a wise time to kick up the Redskins Predictor:
It’s the game-by-game pick ’em poll we trotted out back when the schedule was released. At the time, Washington Post users envisioned a 9-7 season, with four sure-fire wins (at Rams, at Bucs, vs. Vikings, at Browns), four probable wins (vs. Bengals, vs. Panthers, vs. Giants, vs. Cowboys), one toss-up (vs. Eagles), five probable losses (at Saints, vs. Falcons, at Giants, at Cowboys, at Eagles) and two “no way” games (at Steelers, vs. Ravens). Looks like 75% of the 5,282 predictions cast was the threshold between sure-fire and probable, and probable and no way.
For a look at the schedule in order, with some analysis, here’s a sneak peak at the schedule page that will be in Wednesday’s NFL special section for the print editions (and honestly, it looks much better when you can view it on one broadsheet).
Anyway, knowing what we know now, with training camp, preseason and cuts in the rear view mirror, I’d like to hear what you think of the season. Still 9-7? You from the 3-13 crowd? Without looking, I’d have said at least seven wins and third place in the division. Broken down, nine seems possible.
Standard NFL disclaimer: It’s unlikely you can predict which late-season games will be tough at this stage, and vice versa. Sure the Ravens look great now, but what if Ray Rice and Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed get injured and Terrell Suggs can’t come back? (Oh the horror, if any Ravens fans are reading).
Call up the predictor or leave your game-by-game in the comments. Bonus respect for including brief analysis of why each game goes each way.
Your input here
For future posts, still looking for your thoughts e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know which topic you’re addressing in the subject line, and for Pete’s sake, include your Insider name. Nobody knows you as Dave Smith.
1) Call the order of finish in the NFC East. Send before the morning of the 5th, when the Cowboys and Giants kick off the season.
2) Your Redskins-centric predictions you haven’t heard anyone else make. Like Kirk Cousins starts more games than Rex and RGIII combined. Or DeAngelo Hall has five interceptions this season against the Cowboys, and none against anybody else. Got about a dozen of these already. I’ll round up a bunch of the best and put them all together in Thursday or Friday’s post.