Here are five pivotal games on the Redskins’ schedule that could make or break their 2018 season.

Week 1 @ Cardinals—It may be crazy to call Week 1 pivotal but it fits here. For one thing, Jay Gruden is 0-4 in season openers and he didn’t play his starters much in the preseason. A loss would result is withering criticism for Gruden and his inability to have the team ready to play. Also, even though it’s on the road it’s against a team that struggled last year and is breaking in a new head coach. It’s winnable and with a schedule that looks very tough right now, they can’t let such opportunities slip away. 

Week 3 vs. Packers—This is their first chance against a team that is considered to be a contender to make a deep playoff run. We all know about Aaron Rodgers and his status as the highest-paid player in the NFL. But beyond him, the Packers have their share of flaws on offense and defense. Rodgers will make up for a lot of that with his incredible playmaking ability. But if Rodgers is off his game, this is one the Redskins could steal. 

Week 7 vs. Cowboys—I don’t think that a whole lot of explanation is needed here. It’s the Cowboys, a team that the Redskins have not beaten in a meaningful game since 2014. And it’s at home. 

Week 9 vs. Falcons—I could have chosen a few other games that are like this one such as those against the Panthers or Texans. The bottom line is that they need to beat a quality opponent at home and the Falcons, who will be playing out of their element outdoors on grass when the weather is getting a little chilly, offer as good a possibility as any. This will be a chance for the Redskins to show that they’re better than they have been the past few years. 


Week 14 vs. Giants—This is the last of three straight division games, with the first two against the Cowboys and Eagles being played on the road. The division record has been an issue for the Redskins as they went 4-8 the last two season combined. This could be their chance to get to a winning record in the division for the first time since 2015. Not coincidentally, that was the last time they won the division. 

More Redskins news and analysis

-2018 Redskins: Five reasons for concern
-Roster battles: Youth prevails in Redskins roster battles

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