The Redskins released the 2016 schedule tonight. Here is a breakdown and some analysis of the games.
—For the third straight year, the Redskins open against an AFC opponent. This year it’s at home against the Steelers on Monday night. In 2009, the last time Pittsburgh was in Washington, the visiting fans were very prominent at FedEx Field, waving their trademark Terrible Towels and disrupting the home team’s snap counts. The Redskins hope to avoid such a scene this time around, although there is no doubt that the Steelers fans will be there in force.
—Three of the first four games are at home. They get a pair of division games in Weeks 2 and 3, with the Cowboys coming to town followed by a trip up I-95 to the Meadowlands to play the Giants.
—The first fourth of the season comes to a conclusion with the Redskins hosting the Browns. This game will mark the return of Robert Griffin III to FedEx Field. The question is, will he be starting for Cleveland or will he be a backup to a quarterback the Browns draft with the second overall pick? We will see how it plays out between now and then.
—After that it’s a quick trip up to Baltimore to play the Ravens before hosting the Eagles. They then travel to Detroit. These first seven games will need to be where the Redskins make some hay. Only one team in that opening stretch, the Steelers, had a winning record last year.
—The Redskins will have to come off of the road and fly across the Atlantic Ocean for their Oct. 30 game against the Bengals. As has been the pattern since the London series has become a part of the NFL routine, the bye week will follow the trip to London.
—The bye comes at exactly the halfway point of the season, with eight games played and eight to go. Any timing of the bye has its plusses and minuses but having it fall at that point is as close to perfect as you can get.
—Due to the road game, the London trip, and the bye, the Redskins will go nearly a month between home games. They return to FedEx Field to Nov. 13 to play the Vikings and then it’s at home against the Packers on a Sunday night prime time game on NBC.
—The night game will come before a short week. Four days later the Redskins head to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. They will play in that traditional contest for the second time in the last four years.
—The Thanksgiving game is the first of three straight and four out of five on the road. They do get the “mini bye week” after playing the Cowboys as they get 10 days off before going to Arizona to play a 4:25 game. That is the last of a stretch of four in five games against 2015 playoff teams. That tough patch is why they will need to pile up some wins in September and October. A game in Philadelphia finishes out the long road trip.
—Two of the last three are at home. In Week 15 they play the defending NFC champion Panthers on a Monday night in FedEx Field. They then have another short week, turning around on Saturday to travel to Chicago to play the Bears on Christmas Eve. Most of the NFL games will be played on that day since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. The regular season finale comes on New Years Day against the Giants. Going back to the game at Philly, three out of the last four games are against teams that had losing records in 2015
—The major complaints the Redskins might have are playing on the road about 500 miles away before having to leave for London and the Sunday night game preceding the quick turnaround for the Thanksgiving road trip to Dallas.
—As noted, the way it looks right now the Redskins are going to need to get off to a fast start. If they get on the plane to go to London with a record of 4-3 or better they should be in pretty good shape. If they are 3-4 or worse they could be fighting to stay relevant in the playoff picture by the time that Thanksgiving game rolls around.
The full 2016 schedule:
- Sept. 12 (Monday, 7:10) vs. Steelers
- Sept. 18 (1:00) vs. Cowboys
- Sept. 25 (1:00) @ Giants
- Oct. 2 (1:00) vs. Browns
- Oct. 9 (1:00) @ Ravens
- Oct. 16 (1:00) vs. Eagles
- Oct. 23 (1:00) @ Lions
- Oct. 30 (9:30 a.m.) vs. Bengals in London
- Nov. 6 Bye
- Nov. 13 (1:00) Vikings
- Nov. 20 (8:30) Packers
- Nov. 24 (Thursday, 4:24) at Dallas
- Dec. 4 (4:25) @ Cardinals
- Dec. 11 (1:00) @ Eagles
- Dec. 19 (Monday, 8:30) vs. Panthers
- Dec. 24 (Saturday, 1:00) @ Bears
- Jan. 1 (1:00) vs. Giants