By edging the New York Giants in the NFC East race in 2012, the Washington Redskins earned a trip to the postseason less than a year after earning the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The successful season had plenty to do with quarterback Robert Griffin III who finished the season as the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
As division champions, the Redskins now have the task of playing each of the NFC's three other division champions, including the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, two elite teams that the remaining teams in the NFC East will have the luxury of avoiding.
Here's a closer look at Washington's 2013 schedule:
|1||Sept. 9||vs. Philadelphia||7:10 p.m.||ESPN|
|2||Sept. 15||@ Green Bay||1 p.m.||FOX|
|3||Sept. 22||vs. Detroit||1 p.m.||FOX|
|4||Sept. 29||@ Oakland||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|6||Oct. 13||@ Dallas||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|7||Oct. 20||vs. Chicago||1 p.m.||FOX|
|8||Oct. 27||@ Denver||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. San Diego||1 p.m.||CBS|
|10||Nov. 7||@ Minnesota||8:25 p.m.||NFLN|
|11||Nov. 17||@ Philadelphia||1 p.m.||FOX|
|12||Nov. 25||vs. San Francisco||8:40 p.m.||ESPN|
|13||Dec. 1||vs. New York Giants||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|14||Dec. 8||vs. Kansas City||1 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Dec. 15||@ Atlanta||1 p.m.||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22||vs. Dallas||1 p.m.||FOX|
|17||Dec. 29||@ New York Giants||1 p.m.||FOX|
Toughest out: Denver Broncos
The Redskins and Broncos traveled similar paths in 2012 as both teams started slow before carrying long winning streaks into the postseason. If the two teams start slow in 2013, they should have the rust shaken off in time for a Week 8 matchup.
The favorite to win Super Bowl XLVIII, the Broncos promise to be a tough team to beat in 2013 and even tougher to beat at home where they finished 7-1 in 2012. A road victory in the altitude of Mile High Stadium would be a tremendous accomplishment for the Redskins.
Must win: Kansas City Chiefs
To win the always-tough NFC East, the Redskins will need to win every game they can late in the year. Especially a home game against a team that they should be able to beat. Following back-to-back primetime games and immediately preceding a tough road game against the Falcons, a Week 14 game against the Chiefs could set itself up as the "trap" game of the year for the Redskins.
Much improved from 2012 when they finished 2-14, the Chiefs have high hopes in 2013 and could throw a wrench in the Redskins' chances at another trip to the postseason.
Don't overlook: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders look like they're in for a rough 2013 as everything about the team's roster looks like trouble. Still, there's only been one team to ever finish 0-16 and the Raiders are almost certainly going to be able to find at least one win in their schedule.
In 2012, the Raiders captured only four wins and three came against teams that had to travel a few time zones west to play in Oakland. A nearly 3,000 mile trip to the Bay Area would be tough on any team and could be especially difficult for a young team like the Redskins.
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