The Washington Redskins’ strength of schedule ranks 18th in the NFL with their 2013 opponents having recorded a combined 127-128-1 record last season.
Five of the 13 opponents – Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver, Atlanta and San Francisco – reached the playoffs season, while two more – the Giants and Bears – posted winning records but missed the postseason.
The season-opening four-week stretch that precedes Washington’s Week 5 bye appears to be the most favorable for the Redskins. Aside from the Packers in Week 2 (11-5 in 2012), the Eagles, Lions and Raiders won only four games apiece last season.
The bye week comes at a favorable time for the Redskins, particularly if Robert Griffin III has a setback and isn’t ready at the start of the season. A bye in Week 5 would mean that Washington would have to go without their starting quarterback one fewer game early in their season.
But given the confidence with which Griffin spoke in an interview with the team’s play-by-play announcer, Larry Michael, this week – and the glowing reviews team officials and medical personnel continue to give of his recovery – it seems that Griffin has a good shot at achieving his goal of playing in Week 1.
The bye also gives Washington’s coaches two weeks to prepare for their second NFC East matchup of the season, and their first with the Cowboys.
Following that Week 6 meeting with Dallas (8-8 last year), Washington then faces opponents with winning records in 2012 in seven of the remaining 11 games.
The Redskins in Week 9 host San Diego on Sunday, but then just three days later must depart for Minnesota for a Thursday night game, which could make for a challenging week. However, the Redskins in 2012 beat the Eagles on Sunday, then flew out on Wednesday to play Dallas on Thanksgiving and won that game as well.
After that short turnaround, the Redskins then have 10 days to prepare for their road game at Philadelphia, and an extra day to prep for the Monday Night Football meeting at home against San Francisco.
December could be the toughest stretch of the year with two games against the Giants (at New York on Dec. 1 and at home in Week 17), a game at Atlanta and a home date with Dallas all on the docket. Kansas City is the only team in that stretch (after the first New York game and before the game at Atlanta) that posted a losing record in 2012.
Taking a look at the rest of the league, Denver (13-3 last season) has the lowest strength of schedule rating. Their opponents posted a combined 110-146-0 record (.430) in 2012. Meanwhile, Carolina (7-9 last season) has the toughest schedule, with their opponents owning a combined 138-116-2 record (.543).
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter because the games must be played and anything can change in a given year, so just because a team was good or bad last season, doesn’t mean they will remain the same this season.
Few picked the Redskins to have a winning record coming off of a 5-11 season and with a rookie quarterback. But they wound up rebounding from a 3-6 start to finish 10-6 and win their division. And, Atlanta had the fourth easiest schedule in 2012 and went 13-3. However, Denver had the second-toughest schedule and also went 13-3.
But, it’s still fun to go over the numbers.
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