Washington Redskins Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Washington Redskins Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta

    We've known the 13 opponents the Washington Redskins will face in 2014 since the end of the 2013 regular season, but it doesn't really hit you until the full schedule is available with dates and times finalized.

    Now that the NFL has released the 2014 regular-season schedule, we have a chance go through and count the wins and losses, just as many of us have done since we were in grade school.

    Here's a look at Washington's complete 17-week schedule, along with analysis and predictions.

Week 1: Redskins at Texans

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    There's so much to be determined about this Houston Texans team between now and this game, so it's tough to get a feel for what might go down. But if Houston has a capable quarterback, that mediocre Washington secondary will inevitably have some issues with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. 

    Don't forget that, despite all of their problems in 2013, the Texans still managed to rank 11th in the league in total offense. And this was a perennial top-10 unit before everything went to hell last year. Plus, Robert Griffin III could have his hands full with a very dangerous front seven, led by the best defensive player in the game, J.J. Watt. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 24, Texans 23

    On the road, this could be a real troublesome matchup for RGIII and Co., but drawing Houston in Week 1 is a bonus because the Texans have a lot to get acclimated to.

Week 2: Redskins vs. Jaguars

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. ET, on CBS

    There's no such thing as a gimme in this league, especially when you yourself won only three games last year. And while Washington should be much better in 2014, the Redskins could have their hands full against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that actually managed to finish a respectable 3-5 on the road in 2013. 

    The problem with Jacksonville is it might not be able to create enough pressure on defense to fluster Griffin, and that D was still generally abysmal against the pass last season, while also giving up a lackluster 4.2 yards per carry. 

    This won't be a walk in the park, but until the Jaguars have ironed out their quarterback situation and shown that they can wreak havoc up front on defense, the assumption has to be that the Redskins come through here. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Jaguars 20

    Nothing boosts the confidence of a team with poor self-esteem like back-to-back games against Houston and Jacksonville to open the season. But I do think both games will be close.

Week 3: Redskins at Eagles

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    The Philadelphia Eagles swept the season series against Washington last season, badly outplaying Griffin and the Redskins in Philadelphia in November. The 'Skins have improved a bit since then. RGIII is healthy, and they've added DeSean Jackson from Philly and Jason Hatcher from Dallas. But the Eagles should still be given an edge in what will inevitably be a close game here. 

     

    Prediction: Eagles 27, Redskins 24

    Regardless of Jackson's presence, this is a tough matchup on the road, as they adjust to that new staff and system.

Week 4: Redskins vs. Giants

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    Kickoff time and network: Thursday, Sept. 25, at 8:25 p.m. ET, on CBS

    Fun matchup here. The Redskins might have the fastest receiving corps in the league with Jackson and Roberts joining Pierre Garcon, but the New York Giants now have one of the deepest secondaries in the NFL, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond joining Prince Amukamara, Antrel Rolle, Will Hill and Stevie Brown. 

    The Giants should also be improved on offense, though, which could make it tough on Washington's soft pass defense. At home, they'll likely keep this close. But it looks like another classic NFC East toss-up, with turnovers being the deciding factor.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Giants 24

    Home-field advantage is really the only difference.

Week 5: Redskins vs. Seahawks

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    Kickoff time and network: Monday, Oct. 6, at 8:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN

    So much of what has happened to these two franchises the last year and a half can be traced back to that 2012 playoff game in which the Seattle Seahawks ended Washington's season at FedEx Field. Griffin suffered a torn ACL and LCL in that loss, and he and the 'Skins were a mess in 2013. Meanwhile, the Seahawks used that as a stepping stone before winning the Super Bowl this past season. 

    The good news is that Washington's revamped offense should present a new challenge for Seattle's vaunted D. That could keep the Redskins in this at home, but they'll still have to find a way to slow Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Co. down on the defensive side of the ball. 

    The key there will be plenty of pressure. Wilson was the most pressured quarterback in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and he was only average in those situations.

     

    Prediction: Seahawks 20, Redskins 16

    I do think the Redskins keep it close at home, but Seattle is coming off its bye week. 

Week 6: Redskins at Cardinals

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Oct. 12, at 4:25 p.m. ET, on Fox

    Arizona was 6-2 at home last year, while the 'Skins won just a single road game. Washington should be improved in 2014, but it still won't be easy for that secondary to slow down Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and the sneaky-dangerous Andre Ellington, who led all NFL backs with a minimum of 100 carries by averaging 5.5 yards per attempt last season. 

    Carson Palmer isn't elite at this stage, though, so if the 'Skins can get a good push up front they'll stay in it. 

    Arizona's defense, which ranked sixth in yardage and seventh in scoring last year, will be another trick. The Cards lost Karlos Dansby in free agency, but Patrick Peterson, Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell are studs who could make life difficult for Griffin and that new-look offense.

     

    Prediction: Cardinals 21, Redskins 17

    They're probably in trouble against a playoff-caliber team on the road. Arizona will also be relatively fresh after a Week 4 bye.

Week 7: Redskins vs. Titans

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m. ET, on CBS

    The Tennessee Titans are weird. They've won no more than nine and no fewer than six games the last five years, but they're inconsistent and unpredictable from week to week. We don't know what Jake Locker will bring to the table in his third season as a starter or whether he'll be able to stay healthy and hold on to that job. 

    I guess all that matters here is that the Redskins are at home against a mediocre team that usually only wins a few road games a season. With Alterraun Verner gone and the pass rush coming off a poor 2013 season, the Titans defense could have a ton of trouble with that deep, fast Washington receiving corps and Jay Gruden's revamped offense. 

    And on the other side of the ball, Locker might not have the tools nor the weapons to take advantage of Washington's secondary, which was one of only four units in the league to surrender more than 8.0 yards per pass attempt in 2013.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Titans 17

    The Redskins have a good matchup here. They break a two-game losing streak back at home.

Week 8: Redskins at Cowboys

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    Kickoff time and network: Monday, Oct. 27, at 8:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN

    Don't be surprised if, in a bounce-back season, the 'Skins make a run at sweeping the season series from Dallas, just as they did in their breakout 2012 campaign. That year, they scored 66 points in two victories over the Cowboys, and now they've added Jackson and Jason Hatcher to bolster the offense and defense, while Dallas' mess of a D took more hits in the offseason. 

    This really could go either way since it's in Dallas and this is a young Washington team that won just a single road game last season, so expect something close.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 30, Cowboys 28

    This is another toss-up, but Washington should look like the 2012 team that beat Dallas on the road on Thanksgiving.

Week 9: Redskins at Vikings

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    Who'll be Minnesota's quarterback? Can they replace Jared Allen? There are lots of questions surrounding a Minnesota Vikings team that was just as bad as Washington last season,.

    The Vikes had a horrendous pass defense in 2013, and it doesn't appear to be much better now. That bodes extremely well for Washington's chances on the road, especially now that Griffin's receiving corps is stacked with speedy options. 

    The key will be stopping Adrian Peterson, but Washington's front seven is good enough to do that, especially if Brian Orakpo is healthier and inspired and if Hatcher can keep doing what he did in Dallas. Overall, this is a great matchup for the 'Skins, who won five road games when things were normal two years ago. 

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Vikings 17

    This could be close, though, because the Vikes were a respectable 5-3 at home last season, while going 0-7-1 on the road. But Minny should be tired, having not had their bye week yet.

Bye Week

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    In 2012, the 'Skins crushed the Eagles after their bye week and won six straight after that. But last year, they were dominated by Dallas coming out of an early-season bye, before winning only two games the remainder of the season.

Week 11: Redskins vs. Buccaneers

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    New coaching staff, new quarterback and new-look defense. Who knows what to expect from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here. Then again, you can basically say the same thing about Washington. Tampa Bay has plenty of talent and don't forget that the Bucs actually went 4-4 to finish last season. But they still had just a single road win all year.

    Tampa could wreak some havoc here, especially if it gets good quarterback play and Vincent Jackson can get at that secondary, but it's still Washington's game to win. Tampa doesn't get a lot of pressure, and we're not sure how they'll deal with Jackson and that speedy receiving corps. Verner is no Darrelle Revis.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 24, Buccaneers 20

    The Redskins prevail, especially since they've had two weeks to—make that four in a row.

Week 12: Redskins at 49ers

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 23, at 4:25 p.m. ET, on CBS

    The San Francisco 49ers crushed the Redskins in D.C. in November, but that was a Washington team that had lost all hope. Griffin wasn't himself and the morale was low. Now, they'll have a healthier RGIII, plus Jackson on offense and Hatcher on D. 

    Will that be enough to draw them closer to the powerhouse Niners this time around? Maybe. San Francisco did not have a positive offseason, especially in the headlines, with Jim Harbaugh and Aldon Smith finding controversy.

    But this is still a cross-country road game against a Super Bowl-caliber team that lost just four regular-season home games in three years. They have the ability to hold Griffin and Jackson in check, and Colin Kaepernick has the weapons to exploit Washington's shabby secondary.

     

    Prediction: 49ers 30, Redskins 24

    The Niners will be coming off back-to-back tough road games, so this could be one to watch. We'll give them a tight victory.

Week 13: Redskins at Colts

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    AJ Mast

    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    The Indianapolis Colts had a few baffling losses last year, with two coming at home against Miami and St. Louis. So while Indianapolis is likely to be favored for this highly anticipated battle between the top two picks from the 2012 draft, expect this to be a close game. 

    Indy can get pressure on the quarterback and defend the pass quite well, but this is a defense that surrendered a shabby 4.5 yards per carry last season, and since coming into the league, Alfred Morris has more rushing yards than every back in the league not named Adrian Peterson. So the 'Skins have the ability to control the pace here and come away with an upset. 

    The question, of course, is whether that D can slow down Andrew Luck and his stellar group of receivers. They'll need Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Hatcher and the rest of the front seven to come up big with pressure, because that was Luck's Achilles' heel in 2013.

    The former top pick completed only 44.1 percent of his passes under pressure last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranked 22nd out of 27 qualifying quarterbacks.

     

    Prediction: Colts 27, Redskins 24

    They'll lose a tight one to cap a very tough road trip.

Week 14: Redskins vs. Rams

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    The St. Louis Rams have quietly won 14 games the last two years, which is more than Washington, but only five of those have come on the road, which I guess shouldn't be surprising for a young team like that. 

    That said, the 'Skins could have some trouble here. Yeah, they should have opportunities to use their speed against a beatable secondary, but we all saw how much trouble RGIII's pass protectors had last season, and St. Louis has one of the league's most potent pass rush. The Rams were one of only three teams with more than 50 sacks in 2013.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Rams 23

    I don't think Sam Bradford necessarily has the tools at his disposal to light it up against this D, so Washington hangs on for a close victory at home.

Week 15: Redskins at Giants

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    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    Despite the fact both teams were dealing with tumult, the New York Giants still found a way to sweep Washington in their two meetings in 2013. And their only loss to the 'Skins during the RGIII era came by a single point on the road in 2012. 

    Both teams have improved, but the Giants were already better, and they probably made a bigger leap in the offseason than Washington did. That secondary can handle the Redskins' speedy receiving corps, and the offensive line might barely be good enough now to give Eli Manning time to strike against a bad Redskins secondary.

     

    Prediction: Giants 30, Redskins 24

    The 'Skins won only a single road game last year. I expect them to be better in all respects in 2014, but that might not be enough to win at MetLife in December.

Week 16: Redskins vs. Eagles

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    Kickoff time and network: Saturday, Dec. 20, at 4:30 p.m. ET, on CBS

    As good as the Philadelphia was last year, and as bad as Washington was, this looks like Washington's game to lose. Jackson has jumped from one team to the other, Griffin should be healthier and Gruden's system should boost that entire offense. 

    The 'Skins nearly beat the Eagles at home in last year's opener and crushed them at home in 2012. In 2014, expect Washington to have the edge at FedEx Field.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 27, Eagles 23

    I could see a fired up DeSean Jackson thriving off the home crowd here in what is essentially a prime-time matchup. They'll split the season series.

Week 17: Redskins vs. Cowboys

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    Evan Vucci

    Kickoff time and network: Sunday, Dec. 28, at 1 p.m. ET, on Fox

    The Redskins outplayed the Dallas Cowboys at home in the 2012 finale and nearly beat them again at FedEx Field, despite being a train wreck without RGIII last December. In the offseason, Griffin got healthier and the team as a whole got stronger, while the Cowboys took a small step back by losing DeMarcus Ware and Hatcher (who joined the 'Skins). 

    I don't think that questionable Dallas defense will be able to slow down Jackson and the speedy Redskins offense, especially away from home.

     

    Prediction: Redskins 23, Cowboys 20

    This could eerily feel a lot like it did in 2012. I don't know what Dallas will be playing for, if anything, but this should matter for the 'Skins.

Final Predictions

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    Final record: 10-6

    Based on this game-by-game breakdown, we have the Redskins wrapping up the division before Week 17, which would be rare in the NFC East. But maybe this division is ready for that. Washington got better on both sides of the ball in the offseason, the Giants have a hell of a schedule, the Cowboys took a step backward and Philly lost one of its best offensive players. 

    So we can see the 'Skins going from worst (2011) to first (2012) to worst (2013) and back to first (2014), which is as crazy as it gets. 

    That said, we reserve the right to make broad, revised predictions later this summer, because a lot can change between now and early September.