Hope springs anew for the Washington Redskins in 2012, as fans of the team hope that the blockbuster trade that will likely land the Redskins Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin is the first step in Washington's ascension from NFC East cellar dweller to playoff contender.
The high price that the Redskins paid the St. Louis Rams to acquire the second-overall pick places a tremendous amount of pressure on the team to succeed. That means the future is now, so beginning with a brutal opener in the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints the team had better show marked improvement over last season's 5-11 squad or grumbling in the nation's capital is going to begin fairly quickly.
Week 2 9/16: Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams: 4:05 ET, FOX
Week 3 9/23: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, CBS
Week 4 9/30: Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4:15 ET, FOX
Week 5 10/7: Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 6 10/14: Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington Redskins: 4:15 ET, FOX
Week 7 10/21: Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 8 10/28: Washington Redskins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 9 11/4: Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 11/18: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 12 11/22: Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys: 4:15 ET, FOX
Week 13 12/3: New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins: 8:30 EST, ESPN
Week 14 12/9: Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, CBS
Week 15 12/16: Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 16 12/23: Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 1:00 ET, FOX
Week 17 12/30: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins: 1:00 ET, FOX
The scheduling gods were somewhat kind to the Redskins if they end up with Griffin, as Washington is tied for the seventh-easiest schedule in the league, according to the 2011 winning percentages of their opponents.
However, that doesn't mean that the Redskins schedule doesn't carry a couple of rough patches, including one whopper of a pothole. From Weeks 11-13, the Redskins play a tough three-game stretch against the rest of the NFC East (with at least two of those games nationally televised). At that point, Washington gets to ice that divisional cake with a home game against the Baltimore Ravens, after which many of the Redskins players will probably just need ice.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Sandwiched in the middle of that three-game run against NFC East opponents is a Week 12 tilt on Thanksgiving Day against the hated Dallas Cowboys. If Griffin ends up with the Redskins, he should circle this game as the perfect time for a coming-out party.