2013 Washington Redskins Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions, Info and Analysis

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 18, 2013

2013 Washington Redskins Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions, Info and Analysis

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    Before today, we already knew that the Washington Redskins would be playing these 13 teams in 2013. But now that the NFL has released the schedule with dates, times and locations, we can start to visualize the 2013 campaign in a much more real way. 

    The season might still be five months away, but we couldn't wait to go through the weeks and slap each one with either a win or a loss. And so that's exactly what we've done here, along with some information and analysis. 

Week 1: Redskins vs. Eagles

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 9, at 7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN

    The polar divide between the overachieving Redskins and underachieving Eagles came down to turnovers in 2012. Washington committed a league-low 14 of them, while the Eagles had a league-high 37. And when the 'Skins beat the Eagles in both of their 2012 matchups, it's no surprise that they won the turnover battle in both cases. 

    The Redskins should again be disciplined and responsible with the football in 2013, because not a lot has changed. But everything has changed in Philadelphia, where Chip Kelly will overhaul the offense.

    Will that help close the turnover chasm separating these two talented teams? It's tough to tell, because Michael Vick is still slated to be the team's starting quarterback, and Vick has of course been a turnover machine the last two years.

    The Redskins run into Philly here at the wrong time. We don't know how healthy Robert Griffin III will be, and they don't know what to expect from Kelly's offense. 

     

    Prediction: Eagles 24, Redskins 20

    They beat the Eagles twice last year without RG3 throwing for more than 200 yards on either occasion, so this is a tough call, but I think the Eagles could be primed to pull off an upset in prime time on the road.

Week 2: Redskins at Packers

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    If the Redskins secondary isn't much better by the time they meet the Packers in 2013, Robert Griffin III and the offense are going to be forced to try to keep up with the game's highest-rated all-time quarterback in a track meet. 

    Yes, the Redskins hung in and defeated the Saints on the road the last time they went up against a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers' ilk, but Drew Brees wasn't himself in the 2012 opener, and they still surrendered 32 points in that affair. 

    In Green Bay, Rodgers and the Packers will be Washington's biggest challenge of the year, especially if Clay Matthews and the Green Bay pass rush can dial it up against Robert Griffin III. And that's assuming RG3 is even healthy for this one, which also happens to be Green Bay's home opener. 

     

    Prediction: Packers 34, Redskins 24

    I think the Redskins will be very good this year, and maybe even a Super Bowl contender. But I'm not ready to predict that the Washington secondary can hold up on the road against Rodgers and Co.

Week 3: Redskins vs. Lions

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    This is why the Redskins could end up thanking the heavens that they found a way to bring DeAngelo Hall back. If Hall can step up and hang in with all-world Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in the same way he did with Dez Bryant in last year's do-or-die season finale, the 'Skins should have no trouble notching a home victory over a Detroit team that was just 2-6 away from home last year.

    Remember: The Redskins make their money on the ground, and this Lions defense surrendered a mediocre 4.5 yards per rushing attempt in 2012. I don't think Detroit has the ideal personnel on defense to deal with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 28, Lions 17

    The Lions are sloppy and the Redskins are not. That'll be a huge factor here, especially at FedEx Field. No way the 'Skins start 0-3.

Week 4: Redskins at Raiders

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 29, at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Redskins do catch a break with their lone West Coast trip sending them to Oakland, rather than San Francisco, San Diego (both of whom they draw at home) or Seattle (whom they don't face). Oakland doesn't look like it has improved much this offseason after going just 4-12 in 2012.

    Sure, Matt Flynn could exceed expectations, and a healthy Darren McFadden is dangerous, but the 'Skins can manage on D against that offense, especially with Brian Orakpo back. And there's little reason to believe the Oakland defense can slow down Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and the Washington attack. 

    Washington never had to travel to the Pacific time zone during Griffin's rookie campaign, though, so we don't know exactly what to expect here, especially this early.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 24, Raiders 16

    Oakland is still coming off of a tough Monday night road game in Denver, so I'm picking the 'Skins to get back to .500.

Bye Week

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    Coming out of their bye week last year, the 'Skins crushed the Eagles 31-6 and won each of their final seven regular-season games. 

Week 6: Redskins at Cowboys

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Oct. 13, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    The Redskins beat the Cowboys twice in 2012, notching both wins when Dallas was particularly hot in November and December, earning a sweep of their season series with "America's Team" for the first time since 2005. 

    However, a lot has changed since the 'Skins beat the depleted Cowboys in the do-or-die 2012 season finale. Dallas should have Bruce Carter, Sean Lee and Jay Ratliff back and healthy, and the defense has converted from a 3-4 to a 4-3. 

    Neither team was able to do anything dramatic on the free-agent market thanks to sanctions imposed by the NFL, though, so from a personnel standpoint this matchup will be similar. And yes, the 'Boys will be healthier on defense, but the 'Skins could be a much different team on defense, too, with Brian Orakpo, Brandon Meriweather and Adam Carriker back. 

     

    Prediction: Cowboys 24, Redskins 23

    Coming off the bye week last year, the 'Skins tore up the league. But my, I have a bad gut feeling about this one. 

Week 7: Redskins vs. Bears

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    Chicago, which has won 14 of 24 road games the last three years, could give the Redskins quite the fight at FedEx Field. It also could hurt that they're meeting relatively early. The Bears have started strong before losing five of their last six two years ago and five of their last eight last year.

    When they're healthy, the Bears are extremely dangerous. And if that's the case here, this will be a huge matchup with NFC playoff implications.

    Something has to give here, because the Bears had a league-high 37 takeaways on defense last year, while Washington had a league-low 14 turnovers on offense. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall could do some damage to that Redskins secondary, and Chicago has a front seven with the ability to temper Washington's run-based offensive attack.

     

    Prediction: Bears 28, Redskins

    This is just a terrible road matchup for Washington. They drop to 2-4. 

Week 8: Redskins at Broncos

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4:25 p.m. ET

    The poor Redskins have to deal with Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning on the road in 2013. Manning and the Broncos got better offensively in the offseason with the addition of Wes Welker, and this is a team that already won its final six regular-season home games of 2012 by an average of 20.5 points per outing. 

    What I'm saying is this is not a favorable situation for the Redskins, who have three straight extremely difficult matchups coming out of their Week 5 bye. I could see this team digging one hell of a hole early in 2013. 

     

    Prediction: Broncos 30, Redskins 17

    Sorry, I can't pick the 'Skins to beat a Super Bowl favorite on the road, especially when that Super Bowl fave matches up very favorably with Washington and is already phenomenal at home.

Week 9: Redskins vs. Chargers

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 3, at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

    The Chargers have won just 10 road games since 2010, going just 6-11 when having to cross two time zones. So while San Diego is still a very talented team, the 'Skins should be favored to beat the Bolts at home. 

    This San Diego team didn't appear to get much better in free agency, and the Chargers still look like they'll lack bite on defense. Yes, Philip Rivers is a wild card who could strike deep against a mediocre Washington secondary, but Rivers' production has plummeted the last two years. 

    And yes, the Bolts will be coming off their bye week, but they've lost back-to-back games under those circumstances. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 24, Chargers 17

    Rivers might have some success against the Washington pass defense, but don't forget about what Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan might be able to do against that weak offensive line. Look for a Rivers turnover to be the big difference-maker. 

Week 10: Redskins at Vikings

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    Kickoff time and network: Thursday, Nov. 7, at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network

    This is a good throwback matchup because it pits the league's top two rushers from 2012 against one another. Adrian Peterson vs. Alfred Morris isn't as sexy as Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady, but it could lead to an exciting finish. Can you really see either team pulling away from the other here?

    The Vikings have a clear edge because they were 7-1 at home last year, but Washington catches a break because its mediocre secondary doesn't have to worry about Percy Harvin this time around. Plus, the 'Skins beat the Vikings by a double-digit margin at FedEx Field last year despite not having Brian Orakpo. 

    I do think the Redskins are the better all-around team here, but playing Peterson and the Vikes at the Metrodome is always scary, especially on short rest. This will be a very hard-fought affair. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 20, Vikings 17

    The 'Skins went on the road in November and beat the Cowboys last year on a Thursday last November. Look for this victory to have a similar feel, but with fewer points and more big hits. Plus, Washington still has a clear advantage under center.

Week 11: Redskins at Eagles

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    The playoff-bound Redskins had a little more trouble than expected when they traveled to Philadelphia for a Week 16 meeting last December, hanging on for a 27-20 victory. But the Eagles still swept the season series. 

    How much stock do we put into that? Probably not a lot, considering the makeover the Eagles have since received on both sides of the ball. 

    The Redskins will be well-rested for this rematch. They've already had their bye and won't have played since the Thursday of the previous week. The Eagles, on the other hand, will be playing their 11th straight game before a late bye. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 20, Eagles 17

    They get revenge for that opening-week loss at home. This time, we can assume that RG3 is healthier, and the 'Skins should have a big edge in terms of momentum. 

Week 12: Redskins vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff time and network: Monday, Nov. 25, at 8:40 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Here's the rub regarding finishing first overall in your division—something the Redskins haven't encountered since the 20th century. Nobody else in the NFC East has to deal with either of the defending conference champions in 2013, except the 'Skins, who have to face the 49ers in Week 12.

    Neutral fans aren't complaining, because this is a fantastic matchup between two unique offenses. And the fact that the 'Skins get to sit at home while San Francisco has to travel across the country probably balances the scales here. This should be a real close game.

    The 49ers were only 3-2 when traveling two or more time zones in 2012, but they were 5-1 in the Eastern time zone in 2011. 

    And from a matchup perspective, the 'Skins could be in a little trouble here. San Francisco had the league's top-rated run defense in 2012, and they know a thing or two about the read-option. 

     

    Prediction: 49ers 17, Redskins 14

    San Francisco is still a much better team, and the Niners are good enough on the road to come through in a tight contest.

Week 13: Redskins vs. Giants

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 1, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    The Redskins handed the Giants their most heart-breaking loss of the season at FedEx Field last December, and going back before the Robert Griffin III era, they also beat the G-Men at home during New York's 2011 Super Bowl season. 

    Neither team made any big splashes in free agency, and the Redskins are probably still the slightly better team. Still, they came very close to losing that 2012 matchup, so this is a tough one to predict without knowing what will be happening with either team when they play.

    The Giants might be coming out of their annual November swoon at this point, but RG3 should be healthy, too, so this will be one hell of a game. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Giants 24

    One year later, I think the more experienced 'Skins avoid the same late collapse in a tight contest. 

Week 14: Redskins vs. Chiefs

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

    The Redskins were 2-0 against Andy Reid's Eagles in 2012, for what that's worth. Not much, because Reid might have a special team that is more committed to playing hard for him in Kansas City. The Chiefs have revamped the roster in free agency, while adding a new franchise quarterback via trade. They also have a No. 1 overall pick on the way. 

    Considering that the league's "worst team" also managed to send six guys to the Pro Bowl last year, the Redskins had better not overlook this Kansas City squad. 

    The Chiefs did have a lot of trouble stopping opposing running games last year, giving up 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, and they were only 1-7 on the road, so the Redskins should prevail. But beware of the trap here, Washington, with Atlanta on deck. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 28, Chiefs 17

    The Chiefs could be shot at this point, coming off of three straight tough divisional games. 

Week 15: Redskins at Falcons

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    That first-place schedule bites the Redskins in Week 15, when they have to go up against a Falcons team that outplayed them at FedEx Field last October. Things might have been different in that seven-point loss had Robert Griffin III not gotten hurt, but that was still a home loss.

    Now, they have to travel to Atlanta, where the Falcons are 33-7 during the regular season since Matt Ryan took over as quarterback in 2008. Ryan rocked that Washington secondary in the 2012 meeting, wearing them out in the second half, so this could be another tough matchup for Mike Shanahan's team. 

    Working to Washington's advantage is that this is a late matchup. The Falcons struggled late last year and do seem to lose gas in December. They're only 6-5 in their last 11 regular-season games in December and January.

     

    Prediction: Falcons 28, Redskins 21 

    I do think this is winnable, especially late, but it's hard to hand anyone a victory over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. 

Week 16: Redskins vs. Cowboys

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 22, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Redskins intercepted Tony Romo three times in a Week 17 victory over the Cowboys to clinch the NFC East title in 2012, but the Dallas defense was ravaged by injuries at that point, and Romo was trying to overcompensate for the fact his team was out of gas and ammunition. 

    Expect the matchup to be a lot more closely contested this time around, barring major injuries for either squad. The way I see it, these are the best two teams in the NFC East. 

    The Cowboys are just 17-15 at home since Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009, while the 'Skins closed out 2012 with three straight wins on the road. With that in mind, you'd have to think that Washington will be a small favorite in this game.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Cowboys 24

    This is a toss-up right now, but I don't like the way DeMarcus Ware struggled against that read-option last year. In another crucial late-season matchup, I give the 'Skins the edge.

Week 17: Redskins at Giants

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 29, at 1 p.m. ET

    The Redskins have outplayed the Giants in each of their last four meetings, coming away with victories in all but one of those games. And they only had Robert Griffin III in one of those three victories, which is an indication that they should still have a good chance in this game regardless of the status of RG3's knee. 

    The key to this matchup will be for the 'Skins to prevent Eli Manning from striking deep. They have done a great job at that in recent matchups, but Manning and Victor Cruz hooked up on a back-breaking 77-yard touchdown to win the game when these teams last faced each other at MetLife Stadium. 

    This could very well be another do-or-die finale, and I think the 'Skins pull it out.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 24, Giants 23

    Tough to predict these finales, and the Giants were 6-2 at home last year. I'm going with my gut. 

Final Predictions

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    Final record: 9-7

    This team is well-coached and resilient, which is why I have them fighting back to contend for another division title despite a tough start. The first-place schedule will hurt, as could Robert Griffin III"s injury, but I think Washington will again be in the mix in December.