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Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Need to Know: Predicting the results of the Redskins' 2016 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 15, 13 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 96 days ago. It will be 150 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 3; 2016 NFL draft 13; Redskins training camp starts 104

Hot topic

The NFL released the 2016 schedule last night and now it’s time for my annual foolish endeavor. Even though it’s difficult to pick the winner of an NFL game five minutes before kickoff, I’m going to try to pick the winners of each of the Redskins’ games right now, almost five months before the first one kicks off. Here we go:

Week 1—Steelers 24, @Redskins 20 I’m not sure that the Steelers fans will take over FedEx Field to the extent that they did in 2008 but the Redskins had better be ready with their silent counts just in case the Terrible Towels get rolling. A tough opener against Big Ben and company. (0-1)

Week 2—@Redskins 24, Cowboys 21 I’m not so sure the Redskins will have revenge for their 2015 home loss to Dallas on the top of their minds but any motivation will help. The visitors should have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant at full strength so the Redskins had better have an improved defense. (1-1)

Week 3—@Giants 17, Redskins 14 Are they good enough to win in the Meadowlands yet? They went to MetLife in Week 3 last year feeling pretty confident and they got beaten pretty soundly. Big test but I don’t think they are there yet. (1-2)

Week 4—@Redskins 34, Browns 17 RG3 or not RG3? The NFL may have waited a week or two too long for this one if they want to have Griffin returning to his former field of glory. We’ll know a lot more in a couple of weeks when we see if and when the Browns draft a quarterback. (2-2)

Week 5—@Ravens 24, Redskins 21 The Ravens will be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year. Were their problems last year injury related or have they taken a step back that will take a year or two to recover from? If they’re even part of the way back they will be tough to beat at home. (2-3)

Week 6—@Redskins 20, Eagles 10 They have a new head coach, an unsettled situation at quarterback, and some other issues. They have the look of a 6-10 team and the Redskins should be able to handle them at home. (3-3)

Week 7—Redskins 30, @ Lions 13 The Redskins get that first road win of the year before December this time around. With no Calvin Johnson, the Lions are rebuilding as they have been since 1956. (4-3)

Week 8—Redskins 24, Bengals 20 (London) A week after their road breakthrough they go across the Atlantic and beat a team that will finish the season with a winning record. The Redskins have a much stronger fan base in the UK and it should resemble a home game in terms of crowd noise. (5-3)

Week 9—Bye Right smack in the middle of the schedule.

Week 10—Vikings 24, @ Redskins 17 There will be plenty of reasons to think that the Redskins will win this one, at home, on a three-game winning streak, and coming off of the bye. Sounds like a trap. (5-4)

Week 11—@ Redskins 35, Packers 31 Right after they lose one you think they should win they do the opposite. (6-4)

Week 12—@ Cowboys 28, Redskins 20 Maybe they can play Sunday night, prepare for two days, get on a plane to Dallas, and beat the Cowboys. But it’s hard for me to see it. (6-5)

Week 13—@Cardinals 31, Redskins 30 We’re in December now and who knows who will be healthy for either team by then. (6-6)

Week 14—Redskins 27, @Eagles 10 The Redskins score their second consecutive sweep of their division rivals. (7-6)

Week 15—Panthers 28, @ Redskins 21 I think the Redskins will have closed the gap with the Panthers and they will have home field advantage but I still don’t think the home team will quite be ready for prime time. (7-7)

Week 16—@ Bears 17, Redskins 14 The Bears will be better under John Fox. The Redskins had a couple of breaks go their way and escaped with a win at Soldier Field last December. I think the breaks will even out in December of 2016 and the Bears will get the win (7-8)

Week 17—@ Redskins 35, Giants 21 The Redskins go in needing three other teams to lose to have a shot at the playoffs. The do their part but they don’t get in. (8-8)

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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

Want more? Listen up!

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