In this slideshow's introduction, I wrote something about "the meat" of the schedule. I also said it was coming up. Now, I'll add one more announcement. It's unavoidable.
Beginning Sunday in New Jersey, Washington will battle the Giants, who are bitter rivals and the defending Super Bowl champions. New York sits atop the division at 4-2, but the Redskins are unafraid. In fact, they swept Big Blue a season ago, and the Giants are 0-2 in the division so far.
That makes this week's game critical for both teams and a potential roadblock for Washington.
Defeating New York would put the Giants in a hole, despite an identical record. But a Redskins loss would give the champs a two-game lead over Mike Shanahan's squad in the NFC East.
Getting back near the top would then be difficult for Washington because of who comes next.
In Week 8, the Redskins travel to Pittsburgh. Then, they face Carolina's Cam Newton (at home) before their bye.
But from Week 11 through Week 13, it's a "Battle Royale," with a home date with Philadelphia, a road tilt in Dallas and a home rematch with the Giants in successive weeks.
That's blasphemy, if you ask me. Who the heck served as schedule-maker this year? Were replacements brought in during a lockout that the commissioner kept quiet?
And if those matchups aren't tough enough, check out the homestretch.
Washington closes with Baltimore in Week 14 and Philly and Dallas again after a short reprieve in Cleveland.
Overall, the schedule isn't pretty, and the Redskins' fate will lie with how they fare against their common rivals.
Then again, that's the roadblock for any team that strives to be the best among its peers. The schedule may even be a blessing, so that RG3 could get his feet wet before divisional play.