Breaking Down the Washington Redskins' Strength of Schedule for 2013

Dilan Ames@@DilanAmesNFLCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2013

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan
Washington Redskins head coach Mike ShanahanPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

When looking at who the Washington Redskins’ opponents are for the 2013 season, there have been many different opinions when it comes to how tough their schedule is.

Many saw teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers on the schedule and immediately thought it would be a rough season. While these are certainly some of the NFL’s best teams, others saw reasons to be optimistic. 

The Redskins held their own for a large part of their game against the Falcons last year until Robert Griffin III took a nasty blow to the head and was injured. Washington beat the Packers 16-13 (OT) the last time they played, and Mike Shanahan is 2-2 versus the Niners all-time. 

Washington will also face the Denver Broncos in Shanahan’s first game back at Mile High since being fired in 2008. 

However, outside of those teams, it’s not too bad. Washington’s 2013 opponents had a combined record of 127-128-1 in 2012. That equates to a .498 winning percentage, the 18th toughest schedule in the NFL for this coming season. 

They played well against their own division last year, winning five out of six games against divisional opponents. 

Since the season ended, not much has changed in the NFC East. The only team with drastic changes to their franchise is the Philadelphia Eagles. With a new coach and (potentially) a new starting quarterback on the way, no one really knows what to expect from Philly quite yet.

The Dallas Cowboys have been quiet in free agency this far, whereas the New York Giants have made some moves, but none were really a big splash. 

The NFC East as a whole isn’t the best division in football, but it is definitely the most competitive year-to-year. It seems as though there is a never a clear-cut favorite to win the division; each team has won the NFC East in the past four years.

If the Redskins were to repeat in 2013, it would be the first time a team won the East in back-to-back seasons since the Eagles in 2003-04. 

Washington certainly has a chance, though.

The Redskins will be taking on eight teams who were .500 or worse in 2012, including the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. Four of the teams that they will play at home will have new coaches, and may be easier games to play earlier on in the season while teams acclimate to their new systems, coaches, personnel, etc. 

For now, this is all speculation as we are still have a long way to go before we see football on Sundays again. 

Taking a look back at last season, many expected that the Redskins would do better in the first half and struggle after their bye, but it was quite the opposite, actually. Washington went into their bye week at 3-6, and finished 7-0 to clinch the division. 

All this means is that anything could happen. 

When looking at their 2013 schedule as whole, there are certainly some tough games, but it looks like the division is Washington’s to lose, for now.