The Washington Redskins will open the 2013 season in prime time, hosting the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9 on “Monday Night Football.” It’s the first of five prime-time games for the Redskins, who are coming off of a 10-6 season in 2012 and the NFC East title.
The Redskins are hoping to have quarterback Robert Griffin III back on the field by the start of the season, but given that he is rehabbing from surgery to reconstruct his right knee, that’s not a given. Doctors and team officials, and Griffin himself, continue to say that he is ahead of schedule, however. Based on the nationally televised season opener for which it has slotted Washington, the league must feel good about Griffin’s chances of returning by Week 1.
Washington’s next prime-time game comes Oct. 13 at Dallas, a Sunday night matchup, then Nov. 7, the Redskins play at Minnesota on Thursday night. The team makes a second “Monday Night Football” appearance Nov. 25, hosting San Francisco, and on Dec. 1, hosts the Giants in another Sunday night game.
Washington’s bye week comes in Week 5 — Oct. 6.
The team closes out the season on the road against the Giants, a week after hosting the Cowboys.
A closer look at how the schedule shakes out:
Sept. 9 vs. Philadelphia
The Redskins’ defense gets its first look at new Eagles Coach Chip Kelly’s system, which Eagles players are touting as an up-tempo attack that will resemble “a track meet.” Given that there will be little to no film of the wrinkles the first-year head coach will implement, Washington could be up for a tall task.
Sept. 15 at Green Bay
In what should be a great quarterback duel if Griffin is back to face Aaron Rodgers, whom he most often says he tries to emulate. The Packers’ defense will be without a longtime contributor in the departed Charles Woodson, but the unit still boasts plenty of talent.
Sept. 22 vs. Detroit
The Redskins’ defense likely will face another stiff challenge in Matthew Stafford and offensive weapons Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, but the Lions were a disappointment in 2012 after a promising 2011 campaign.
Sept. 29 at Oakland
The Redskins head west in what is their longest trip of the season. Out is Carson Palmer, in is Matt Flynn. After another offseason of roster purging, it remains to be seen what type of talent the quarterback will have at his disposal.
Oct. 6 – bye
For the second time in three seasons, Washington gets a bye after playing four games. Last season, the team didn’t get its bye until Week 10.
Oct. 13 at Dallas
In his first return to Texas, Griffin lit it up, passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns on Thanksgiving Day. Once again, he and the Redskins face their longtime rivals on a national stage.
Oct. 20 vs. Chicago
Washington welcomes the new-look Bears and first-year Coach Marc Trestman, an offensive guru formerly of the CFL. Mike Shanahan will coach against his former quarterback, Jay Cutler, for a second time in the regular season.
Oct. 27 at Denver
Shanahan makes his return to the city where he won two Super Bowls. Trent Williams will likely draw the tall task of holding at bay linebacker Von Miller while on the other side of the ball, DeAngelo Hall will have his hands full with Peyton Manning’s new go-to guy, Wes Welker.
Nov. 3 vs. San Diego
First-year Coach Mike McCoy arrives, charged with breathing life into an offense that ranked 31st in yards gained. McCoy has a track record of success as a coordinator, and big-armed quarterback Phillip Rivers to lead the way.
Nov. 7 at Minnesota
It’s a quick turnaround, as the Redskins travel to Minnesota for a Thursday night game. London Fletcher and the defense will do their best to bottle up Adrian Peterson, who is coming off a 2,097-yard, 12-touchdown season.
Nov. 17 at Philadelphia
In their first division rematch of the season, Washington plays at Lincoln Financial Field. It’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles quarterback who faced Washington in the first meeting remains the starter.
Nov. 25 vs. San Francisco
The nation again will be watching. Colin Kaepernick and Griffin meet, representing what seems to be a changing of the guard. The dual-threat quarterbacks will run their teams’ versions of the zone-read option/pistol attacks on “Monday Night Football.”
Dec. 1 vs. New York Giants
Playing in prime time for a second consecutive week — this time on Sunday night — Griffin and his line prepare to face a revamped Giants defensive front. Gone is Osi Umenyiora, in is Cullen Jenkins. Justin Tuck said last year that he imagined Griffin would give him nightmares for years to come.
Dec. 8 vs. Kansas City
Washington welcomes the new-look Chiefs, led by Andy Reid and Alex Smith. A year after winning only two games, Kansas City hopes the longtime coach can turn them into contenders.
Dec. 15 at Atlanta
The Redskins’ defense faces another talented quarterback in the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, who has weapons Julio Jones, Roddy White and seemingly ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez at his disposal. Gone is pass-rusher John Abraham, and in his place is familiar face Osi Umenyiora.
Dec. 22 vs. Dallas
It’s another late-season meeting between the Redskins and Cowboys. Last season, the Redskins defeated Dallas in Week 17 to clinch the NFC East title and a playoff berth, eliminating the Cowboys in the process.
Dec. 29 at New York Giants
The teams meet again in a game that could decide the division and postseason bids as they close out the regular season. If it’s a meaningful game, this game could wind up being flexed into prime time.