Washington Redskins: 2017 Schedule Analysis

The Washington Redskins will open and close the 2017 season with an NFC East opponent, while also hosting their first ever Thanksgiving game.

The 2017 NFL schedule is out and for the Washington Redskins, there’s a lot of intrigue on the team’s slate. Washington hosts Philadelphia to open the season and closes the year with a trip to New York to face the Giants. Remember how the 2016 season ended with disappointment in a loss to the Giants?

Five primetime games highlight Washington’s schedule, including back-to-back tilts against Oakland and Kansas City of the AFC West. After hosting the Raiders and traveling to K.C., the Redskins get an early season bye in Week 5.

In addition to five prime-time games, the Redskins also play in four games that kick off at 4 p.m. ET. That means Washington has just seven games that begin at the standard 1 p.m. time most fans are accustomed to. A big reason for Washington’s abundance of late games is having four games on the west coast.

The Redskins finish the 2017 season with two of their final three games at home. Before the trip to New York, Arizona and Denver come to FedEx Field. Outside of the back-to-back games against the Raiders and Chiefs, the toughest part of Washington’s schedule could be a three-game stretch that begins with a trip to Philly, a home game versus Dallas followed up with a game at Seattle.

Here is a closer look at the Redskins’ 2017 schedule with a look at the schedule in quarters.

Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks down during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Weeks 1-4

Week 1: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 2: at Los Angeles Rams
Week 3: vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs

The Redskins open the year with a division game against Philadelphia. The Skins have dominated this series recently, winning the past five meetings. The Eagles should be much-improved in Carson Wentz’s second year under center with new weapons, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

In Week 2, the Redskins travel to Los Angeles to meet former offensive coordinator Sean McVay. The Rams are a bit of a mess, especially at the quarterback position. However, they have talent on the defensive side of the ball and coordinator Wade Phillips will have them competitive.

The toughest game in the opening quarter is a Week 3 home game against the Raiders. Behind franchise quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders are on the verge of being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Oakland struggled defensively last fall, but should be better on that side of the ball in 2017.

When was the last time Washington beat the Kansas City Chiefs? If you said 1983 you would be correct. In fact, the Redskins are just 1-8 all-time versus the Chiefs. The last time these two teams met the Chiefs trounced the Redskins, 45-13, on a snowy day in D.C. Will it be different this time?

While starting 3-1 would be ideal for Washington, splitting two of the first four games would be a favorable start to the season. After the first quarter, the Redskins get their bye.

Jan 15, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) under center against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Weeks 6-9

Week 6: vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 7: at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 8: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks

This is arguably the toughest stretch of the season for the Redskins. Fortunately for head coach Jay Gruden, they get the San Francisco 49ers coming off the bye week. In Kyle Shanahan, Washington gets to meet another former offensive coordinator. Pierre Garcon will certainly be fired up to face his former team, but that shouldn’t matter too much. The 49ers are bereft of talent and the Skins get this one at home. The biggest question in this game is which team will Kirk Cousins be playing for?

Trips to Philadelphia are always tough. After a home game against the Niners, the Redskins get the Eagles. Regardless of what happens in the season opener, the Redskins must at least split this series.

Last season, the Redskins blew a home game against the red-hot Cowboys. Dallas had no business winning that early-season matchup when Cousins missed tons of open receivers and was picked off in the end zone to seal a Dallas victory. Their meeting on Thanksgiving Day was a shootout that Dallas won. If the Redskins can slow down Ezekiel Elliot and the running game they stand a good chance of taking down the Cowboys.

In Week 9, the Redskins travel to Seattle. Will this Seattle team be as good as previous versions? Well, Russell Wilson will be under center for the Seahawks and stopping him is never easy. Seattle also gets Earl Thomas back this year to go with Kam Chancellor, but will Richard Sherman be with the ‘Hawks in this one? Winning in Seattle is never easy, although the Redskins have won the past two regular-season meetings between the two teams there.

Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; The Washington Redskins offense lines up against the New York Giants defense in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Giants won 19-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Weeks 10-13

Week 10: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 11: at New Orleans Saints
Week 12: vs. New York Giants
Week 13: at Dallas Cowboys

The Redskins get Minnesota and New Orleans in their first back-to-back 1 p.m. starts of the season in Weeks 10 and 11. Last season, Washington defeated Minnesota and Sam Bradford should be back under center for the Vikings. When these two teams met in 2016, Minnesota was going through a rash of injuries.

Will the Saints be better on defense in 2017? That same question is asked every year and New Orleans still struggles defensively. Head coach Sean Payton certainly seems committed to improving that side of the ball after trading Brandin Cooks. Drew Brees is entering the final years of his career and the Saints are always tough at home. The last time these teams met in the Superdome was Robert Griffin III’s NFL debut.

The Redskins finally are set to host a Thanksgiving Day game for the first time in franchise history. For this meeting, Washington gets the hated New York Giants.

For the first time, the Redskins get back-to-back Thursday night games as they travel to Dallas in Week 13 for their second meeting with the Cowboys. This will be a tough stretch. What’s even more important is all four games are against NFC foes, two of which are division opponents. If the Redskins are battling for a playoff spot these games are especially critical.

Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Weeks 14-17

Week 14: at Los Angeles Chargers
Week 15: vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 16: vs. Denver Broncos
Week 17: at New York Giants

Will the Redskins be contending for a playoff spot as they enter the final stretch of the season? If so, the last four games could be huge and fortunately, Washington gets two tough opponents in Arizona and Denver, at home, in Weeks 15 and 16.

Washington travels to LA for the second time in 2017, this time to face the Chargers. The following week, the Redskins return home to host the Arizona Cardinals. This is the second time of the season they play a 1 p.m. game following a trip from the west coast the week before. Will that affect them this late in the season?

Denver will be a tough out. The Broncos will once again have an outstanding defense, but who will play quarterback for them? The Redskins have a chance because of Denver’s lack of uncertainty at the quarterback position. There is just so much unknown, though, as Paxton Lynch could have the job by that point and be a star.

For the second straight year, the Redskins and Giants meet to end the season. It didn’t go too well for Washington in 2016 as the Giants had nothing to play for in Week 17 and still defeated the Skins. Cousins played terribly as did the rest of the team. Washington’s defense couldn’t stop a bland New York attack with Odell Beckham sitting for a good portion of the game.

Can the Redskins finish with three straight winning seasons? This schedule is tough, but perhaps not as bad as the 2016 schedule. The NFC East will continue to get better and if Washington expects to get back to the playoffs it must take care of business within the division.

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