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Season predictions: Improvement for the Redskins, a new champ for the NFL

Season predictions: Improvement for the Redskins, a new champ for the NFL

So how will the Redskins rebound after their 3-13 stinker of a season in 2013? There are a lot of ways to try to break it down to make a prediction, most of them just as futile as the other. But that never stops us from trying.

Let’s look at the schedule in terms of preseason expectations, a look at what games they can reasonably expect to win or lose and which ones are too close to call right now.

Strong favorites (4): Jaguars, Titans, Bucs, Rams

These are all home games against teams that didn’t make or even seriously threaten to make the playoffs. Two of them, the Titans and Bucs, have new head coaches although it should be noted that Ken Whisenhunt and Lovie Smith have both taken teams to the Super Bowl. If the Redskins are improved at all they should win at least three of these games if not all four.

Strong underdogs (6): @Eagles, Seahawks, @ Cardinals, @ 49ers, @Colts, Eagles

This is a tough run, looking at it right now. A split with the Eagles is a possibility if the defense has truly improved. The Cardinals have taken a couple of hits to their defense with the suspension of Daryl Washington and the free agent loss of Karlos Dansby. Oh, and they have Carson Palmer as their QB. So there are two possible wins here but it wouldn’t be surprising if they went through group of games at 0-6.

Tossups (6): @ Texans, Giants, @ Cowboys, @Vikings, @ Giants, Cowboys

New York is struggling on offense and the Cowboys don’t have a defense so 2-2 or even 3-1 in those four division games looks possible. It’s hard to get a feel now for the games in Houston and Minnesota so 1-1 is as good a guess as any.

Let’s add it up. One loss when they’re favored and one major upset would put them at 4-6. That would mean that they would need to win either three of the four division games against Dallas and New York or sweep the road tossups to finish at 8-8.

I’d say it’s possible that they will break even but I think that they need a year to regroup under Jay Gruden. I think they split against New York and Dallas and split those games in Houston and Minnesota to go 7-9. That’s some progress and they will work on shoring up their weak spots and becoming contenders in 2015.

Of course, anything can happen. Teams that were bad last year can be serious contenders this year. I was reviewing the version of this post from a year ago and the two games against the Eagles, who were 4-12 in 2012 and breaking in a college coach to the NFL, were an easy sweep for the Redskins. But Chip Kelly wasn’t a joke, the Eagles improved greatly and the Redskins weren’t competitive in either game. The game against the Falcons, the NFC runners up in 2012, was a sure loss. The Falcons were awful (4-12) and the Redskins were a late two-point conversion away from winning it.

But we can only go on what we know now and right now 7-9 or within a game or so either way seems to be where the Redskins are headed. But in a couple of days they start to play the games and we can start to see what they really have.

As long as we’re predicting, let’s go through the NFL so that I have something on record. The problem with all of the picks I’m seeing around the Internet and on TV is that they’re chalk. Most of them have something like nine or more of the 12 playoff teams from 2013 repeating. We don’t know much but recent history tells us that about half of the 2014 playoff field will be new to the dance from 2013. Why make a prediction if you know it’s going to be wrong?

For the NFC division champs I’ll take the Eagles, Bears, Saints, and Seahawks and the Panthers and Cardinals as the wild cards. In the NFC it’s the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, and Broncos taking the divisions with the Ravens and Jets going as the wild cards. In the Super Bowl it’s the Saints (yes, I saw the Seahawks on Thursday night) over the Patriots.

Tomorrow: Five keys and a prediction for Redskins-Texans

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

More Redskins

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.