Redskins season watch: Mark your calendar

Schedule some time for Peter Hailey's look at the 2015 campaign beyond the season opener.

Redskins fans have been -- dare I say it? -- "All In For Week One" since the NFL released its schedule a few months ago — and rightfully so. When Washington plays Miami this Sunday, it will be our first look at a totally new team at the start of a totally new season. 

However, there are 15 other games on the slate for 2015, so while Week 1 always feels so fresh and thrilling, it’s really just one small part of the Redskins’ upcoming campaign. But since you’ve been focusing all your attention on Sept. 13’s opener, I’ve been looking ahead at the rest of the games the Burgundy and Gold will be playing. Here are the ones that, much like Matt Jones, stand out the most. 

Those pesky Rams and Bucs

The ‘Skins face off against the Rams in Week 2 and the Bucs in Week 7. Does it feel like Washington always plays those two teams to you? Well, that’s because Washington always plays those two teams. The Redskins matched up with both of them in 2014, both of them in 2012, the Rams in 2011, both of them in 2010, and both of them in 2009. What’s Goodell waiting for? He needs to just put them in the NFC East already.

Not only do the Redskins often see St. Louis and Tampa Bay, though; they often lose to them in particularly embarrassing fashion, too (look no further than last season as evidence). Will they falter against these familiar foes again in 2015, or will they finally come out on top against their quasi-rivals? Also, what odd pregame tactic will Jeff Fisher come up with this year? Both topics will be intriguing things to monitor.

Redskins reunion in Atlanta

The way the Burgundy and Gold have acquired pieces from the Bucs’ organization in recent years has earned them the nickname “Tampa North.” Well, if that’s the case, then the Falcons are becoming “Washington South.” Kyle Shanahan is the team’s offensive coordinator, and former ‘Skins Chris Chester, Leonard Hankerson, Tyler Polumbus and Nick Williams are also on the roster (the same can’t be said for D.C. favorite Rex Grossman, whose very brief stint with the Falcons came to an end recently when he was cut. Gone too soon).

Seeing those guys in action again should be fun when the Redskins go to Atlanta in Week 4 (I’m especially curious to watch Hankerson, who apparently has become a new man) and I can’t wait to see which team emerges victorious — the actual Redskins, or the Redskins castoffs.

Going to the champs’ house

Week 9 will see the Redskins take on one of football’s most unenviable tasks: try to pick up a road win over the Patriots in Foxborough. The last time they went up there? One second, I have to go to the part of my brain where I bury things I don’t really want to think about ever again. Oh, found it (it was right next to the 59-28 debacle against Philly): they lost 52-7. Can Washington at least compete with New England, and maybe even pull off the upset? Crazier things have happened, right?


What could be a fantastic finale

If I had to bet, I’d bet that the Redskins won’t make the playoffs this season; they just have too many holes on the roster. With that being said, it’s not completely out of the question, so if they are in fact in the playoff hunt down the stretch, their final game, a home affair against the Cowboys, could be an epic one.

We all remember (very, very, very fondly) what happened a few years ago when Dallas traveled to FedEx Field to participate in a win-or-go-home regular season finale, and I can think of few things more appetizing than seeing that scenario unfold again. Therefore, I’ll hold out hope that the schedule’s ultimate game will have a ton of meaning to it, because while it’s great to get amped up for the first week, sometimes the last one means much more.

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