Schedule Set

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs delivered a not-so-stunning statement once he saw their 2007 schedule. He thinks it's tough.

Then again, that's nothing different.

''I've never seen one that I've liked,'' he said, laughing.

But Gibbs is right that there are tough elements to this schedule, though any team coming off a 5-11 season has a difficult road ahead. What stood out with this schedule is three things: when they play the division teams; the midseason stretch; and the bye week.

Also, the Redskins have three prime time games, starting with a Week 2 Monday night game at Philadelphia. They also have a Thursday night game against Chicago and a Sunday night game the following week against the New York Giants.

One key to their 2005 playoff run was their play in the NFC East, just as it was a big negative this past season when they went 0-6. This year, they play Philly and the Giants in Weeks 2 and 3 and they end the season with the Giants and Cowboys in two of their last three games. The season finale is a home date against Dallas.

''That hits your radar,'' Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said of the division games. ''I just know [the lat two division games] will be big games.''

The Thursday night game will provide a test in preparation, especially with it coming against the NFC champions.

''That'll be a real problem,'' Gibbs said.

''[But], to be truthful we can't control this and everyone out there I'm sure has a tough schedule so we'll all be challenged.''

The bye week comes Sept. 30, which is not the ideal spot. But don't forget: two years ago they had a September bye and made the playoffs. Last year, they had the optimal spot -- middle of the season -- and won only five games.

However, the most brutal part of the schedule comes in late October and November. They play five road games in seven weeks, from Oct. 14 to Nov. 25. Also during this stretch, the Redskins play four straight games against 2006 playoff teams -- New England, the Jets, Philadelphia and Dallas.

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