Alright, we're eight games in and the Redskins stand at 3-5 after two disappointing losses to the Giants and Steelers. So far, Washington's offense has been unreal, while the defense has been abysmal. It doesn't look like anything's going to get better on the defensive side of the ball, so the Redskins will have to be even better on offense to turn the season around.
Every game has a degree of luck and circumstance, so it's impossible to predict how every game will turn out. I believe this team has the ability to win every game it plays, but the chances of that happening are pretty much zero.
I see the Redskins getter better after the bye week with a healthy Pierre Garcon finally giving Robert Griffin III a top receiving option, but ultimately, they fall just short of the playoffs.
Here's how I see things playing out for the rest of the year.
The Carolina Panthers are in a free fall right now after falling to 1-6 on Sunday. Cam Newton has often looked depressed in his post-game interviews, which sums up the feeling of the team thus far.
The Redskins and Panthers are both structured fairly similarly, with each relying on its young quarterback to make enough plays to overcome poor defensive play. This has the making of a shootout with very little defense played.
I think Robert Griffin III gets the offense moving early in this one, and the Redskins run all over Carolina in a must-win game.
Prediction: 31-24 Redskins. Record: 4-5
First off, I don't think Mike Vick will be the starting quarterback for this game. Depending on how he performs next week—I see Andy Reid making a desperate quarterback change since Vick is playing just awful—I think Nick Foles gets the call here against the Redskins.
The Eagles defense has quietly been one of the best in the league in everything except sacks, but like most teams, they will struggle to adjust to the zone-read and option plays that Mike and Kyle Shanahan will dial up.
Coming off the bye, I expect Washington to keep things going and pull out a huge divisional win against the Eagles. Griffin has a solid game, and Jim Haslett is able to finally get a game plan together to take advantage of a rookie quarterback in a relatively low-scoring affair.
Prediction: 20-10 Redskins.
Ah yes, the big Thanksgiving game. Call me crazy, but something tells me this game will have a lot of energy. Definitely tune into this one.
Before the loss of Sean Lee, I had this as a loss, but without him, I don't see Dallas slowing down the Redskin offense. Lee was playing better than anyone else in the league at linebacker; losing him completely changes the Cowboys defense.
After two heartbreaking losses to New York and Pittsburgh, I have the Redskins picking up their third straight win on Turkey Day.
Prediction: 24-20 Redskins. Record: 6-5
The long-awaited rematch with the New York Giants should be yet another close game in a season of nail-biters.
Much like the first meeting, I expect Griffin to have some success against the Giants defense and make a few highlight-reel plays like we all expect by now. But he'll have to pull out all his tricks to get a win this week.
Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will both have big days against this secondary barring some kind of miracle, so this game will come down to whether or not the Redskins can stop Ahmad Bradshaw on the ground.
I think this is another close one between these two, but ultimately, the Giants pull it out on the arm of Eli Manning.
Prediction: 31-21 Giants. Record: 6-6
The Battle of the Beltway won't quite be the same without Ray Lewis or Lardarius Webb in the game, but Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs will see to it that Griffin is thoroughly tested.
While the Baltimore defense is hurting, the offense is flourishing with Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Torrey Smith leading the way. The Ravens will put up plenty of points, but they won't exactly be stifling to the Redskins.
I think this game turns into a slugfest with a lot of emotion. Unfortunately, I don't see Washington playing up to that level against a team full of veterans.
Prediction: 27-17 Ravens. Record: 6-7
The Cleveland Browns are far from being a pushover despite what their record might suggest. Trent Richardson is a monster talent with the capability to go off at any moment. If Brandon Weeden can find someone who will actually catch the ball, this is a dangerous team.
However, I still think the Redskins have a far superior offense and the defensive capabilities to contain Weeden to a degree.
Prediciton: 28-17 Redskins. Record: 7-7.
The Redskins never seem to play well in Philadelphia. I don't know who will be under center for this game, but I see the Eagles offense exploding and pushing the Redskins out of playoff contention.
Trent Cole and Jason Babin will have big games and get a few good shots at Griffin, each one making fans cringe more than the last. DeSean Jackson will have a touchdown since that always seems to happen, and LeSean McCoy will keep the ball moving forward for Andy Reid's squad.
Washington's offense won't ever get going and stall out before making a late-game push to make things interesting before the Eagles put it away.
Prediction: 33-17 Eagles. Record: 7-8.
FedEx field should be rocking when the Cowboys come to visit at the close of the season. Griffin and company will be pumped up to end the season on the high note and maybe spoil any playoff hopes Dallas has (although I don't see them getting close to a wildcard spot).
Tony Romo will make a few big plays to keep Dallas in it, but I see the Redskins ground game taking over with a few deep bombs to Pierre Garcon thrown in to keep this game pretty much in control for its duration.
Prediction: 35-24 Redskins. Record: 8-8
Congratulations on the first .500 season of the Mike Shanahan era. There are a ton of positives to take away from RGIII's rookie year if it pans out this way, and he'll likely find himself winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
A .500 season isn't exactly what fans want, but it shows growth. And who knows, the Redskins could sneak out a few more wins and find themselves in the position to earn a wildcard spot and a trip to the postseason. Stranger things have happened.