by Chuck Sapienza, special to Breaking Burgundy
When the Redskins schedule was released last week, the adjectives began flying. Tough, brutal and impossible were just a few thrown around by local media. As always, 95% of all media experts hedge their bets by predicting one of three records: 7-9, 8-8 or 9-7. Why do most local media predict those records? There are a few reasons. Those records seem safe, even though only 10 of the 32 NFL teams finished 2015 with one of those three records. The other reason is fan reaction. If an “expert” predicts 3-13, they are labeled a hater. Conversely, a 13-3 forecast and they are accused of drinking the kool-aid. I ain’t scared of being wrong (just look at some of my moves at 980), so here is a breakdown of how the Redskins get to 10-6 and repeat as NFC East Champs.
Go 5-1 in division
While going 5-1 in division is no easy task, this is the year it can be accomplished. The Giants and Eagles are breaking in new head coaches and neither man has been a head coach above the high school level. If the Redskins can win those four winnable games and split with Dallas. There is their 5-1 division record.
Go 2-2 vs AFC North
I think the Redskins will beat RG3 and the Browns at home in week four which means the Skins would have to win one of the remaining three AFC North games; the home opener vs the Steelers, a week five matchup at Baltimore, and a battle against Jay Gruden’s former team, Cincinnati in London. Out of those three games, I’ll give the Skins the win in London. Even though it’s a “road” game, I see many more fans of the Burgundy and Gold making the trip over the pond then Bengal fans. Which makes for a de facto ninth home game, a revenge victory for Gruden and a 2-2 record against the AFC North.
Go 3-1 vs the NFC North
I believe the Redskins can defeat the rebuilding dumpster-fire Lions for one victory and if the Redskins have another team’s number, it’s the Bears. The Skins have defeated Chicago six straight times and 12 of the last 14. If the Skins win those two, they would have to split games against the Vikings and Packers. In this case, the schedule makers have given the Redskins a gift. They face those two 2015 playoff teams at Fed Ex. Hold serve at home in one of those two games and the Redskins achieve three wins vs the NFC North.
So at this point I have the Redskins at 10 wins. Realistically the week 13 game at Arizona and the week 15 Monday night football tilt against the posing dab’ers from Charlotte should be two losses. That puts the Redskins at 10-6. As brutal as this schedule is, 10-6 is squarely in the Redskins cross-hairs as they go for back to back division titles for the first time since the early eighties.
Chuck Sapienza is the Executive Producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP/Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the networks Executive Producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com.