2018 Washington Redskins Schedule Analysis

On Thursday April 19th, the NFL released the 2018 regular season schedule. The Redskins will be matched up against seven teams who made the playoffs last year, with tough divisional match-ups with the NFC south with three playoff teams from a year ago, and the AFC South with two playoff teams. Lets take a look at some of the big games that stand out for the Redskins:

  • September 9th @ Arizona Cardinals- For the first time since the 2014 season the Redskins open the season on the road. The first game for quarterback Alex Smith and the Redskins will come against another quarterback making his debut for a new team, Sam Bradford. The Cardinals replaced the retired Carson Smith with another oft-injured quarterback Bradford. Bradford when healthy, has been pretty good so chances he will be ready for game one. Also the Cardinals should have running Chris Johnson who missed all but one game last season. The Redskins defeated the Cardinals 20-15 last year at FedEx Field.
  • September 16th vs. Indianapolis Colts- The home opener is versus the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts coming off of a season with no Andrew Luck led to a 4-12 record and the firing of Chuck Pagano. New head coach Frank Reich, the former offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, will be tasked in righting the ship for the Colts. Very few updates have been given on the shoulder injury of Andrew Luck, but even with him there Luck has missed a season and a half of games. The Redskins need to take advantage of this a get a win here.
  • October 8th @ New Orleans Saints- After an early bye week the Skins head on the road to play the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The Saints were 11-5 last season and were the opponent for the Redskins worse lost last season. The Redskins were up 15 points with six minutes left and found a way to lose the game, which effectively ended a chance at the playoffs. That game withstanding, the Redskins have won the previous two meetings against the Saints. This game will be a test of the defense certainly facing Drew Brees.
  • October 21st vs. Dallas Cowboys- The first divisional game for the Redskins doesn’t come until week seven. Redskins versus Cowboys are always must watch games and to the fans is the most important games of the season. Last season the Cowboys dominated both games by running the ball, while the Redskins offense played awful in both games. To be a playoff contender the Redskins must do better than one and five in the division. This game is where the Redskins expect Alex Smith’s leadership to take over and win a divisional game.
  • November 4th vs. Atlanta Falcons- Being matched up with the NFC south is a tough break for the Redskins. Having already faced the division winner the Saints and 11-5 Panthers, the Redskins meet the other playoff squad from the division the Atlanta Falcons. This will conclude a tough stretch of a mix of playoff teams and divisional rivals. Playing the Falcons outside is an advantage that the Redskins must use in winning this game. To show that they are playoff contenders the Redskins must win these games, not just be competitive in these games.
  • November 22nd @ Dallas Cowboys- For the third straight season the Redskins play on Thanksgiving Day. Last season the Redskins won their first home game on Thanksgiving against the New York Giants 20-10. The Redskins haven’t been as successful against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving only winning once in 2012. In 2015 the Cowboys defeated the Redskins 31-26 in a game where the offense of the Cowboys did whatever they wanted. This is the feature game of Thanksgiving and the Redskins need to put on a good showing.
  • December 3rd @ Philadelphia Eagles- After a mini bye week of eleven days, the Redskins start a tough December on the road versus the Eagles on Monday night. The defending Super Bowl Champions have added to a loaded roster that the Redskins could not solve last season. Carson Wentz looked like an MVP in both games last season with his mobility, elusiveness, and play making ability. To stop the Eagles, he must be the focus of the defense. Before 2017, the Redskins had won five straight in the series against the Eagles. Hopefully the Redskins can start another winning streak.
  • December 16th @ Jacksonville Jaguars- In December the Redskins play four playoff teams from a season ago. That tough close to the season is highlighted by a visit to the Jaguars, who were up late in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. The Jaguars feature a young and fierce defense that provides the swagger for this team. The only thing for the Jaguars is now teams are expecting greatness for them. So they are now the hunted team so it will be interesting to see how the upstart Jags handle the pressure.
  • December 30th vs. Philadelphia Eagles- The season concludes with the defending Super Bowl Champions at home. The NFL has made an effort to end the season with divisional games that hopefully will make playoff implications games. If the Redskins are trying to clinch a playoff spot, the game will be flexed to a later time in the day. However if nothing is at stake the game will stay as a 1pm start.

There are two stretches of games that will make or break the season for the Redskins: October and December. Both of those months feature games against numerous playoff teams and divisional opponents. If Washington can go .500 in October and win three of the five in December, then they have a chance at the playoffs. Conversely, if the they don’t do well during these stretches then they will miss the postseason for a third straight year. See the full schedule below.

PRESEASON:

DATE OPPONENT (NETWORK) TIME (ET)
Thursday, Aug. 9 at New England Patriots (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington) 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 16
vs. NEW YORK JETS (ESPN)
8:00 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 24 vs. DENVER BRONCOS (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington) 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 30 at Baltimore Ravens (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington) 7:30 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON:

DATE OPPONENT (NETWORK) TIME (ET)
Sunday, Sept. 9 at Arizona Cardinals (FOX) 4:25 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 16 vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (CBS) 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 23 vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (FOX) 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30 BYE
Monday, Oct. 8 at New Orleans Saints (ESPN) # 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 14 vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS (FOX) 1 p.m.*
Sunday, Oct. 21 vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (CBS)  4:25 p.m.*
Sunday, Oct. 28 at New York Giants (FOX) 1 p.m.*
Sunday, Nov. 4 vs. ATLANTA FALCONS (FOX) 1 p.m.*
Sunday, Nov. 11 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX) 1 p.m.*
Sunday, Nov. 18 vs. HOUSTON TEXANS (CBS) 1 p.m.*
Thursday, Nov. 22 at Dallas Cowboys (FOX) # 4:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 3 at Philadelphia Eagles (ESPN) # 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9 vs. NEW YORK GIANTS (FOX) 1 p.m.*
Sunday, Dec. 16 at Jacksonville Jaguars (FOX) 1 p.m.*
TBD^ at Tennessee Titans (TBD) TBD
Sunday, Dec. 30 vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (FOX) 1 p.m.*

^ Game will be played on either Saturday, Dec. 22 or Sunday, Dec. 23.