Editor’s Note: HTTD writer Patrick Rice provides his game-by-game predictions for the outcomes for each game on the Washington Redskins’ 2016 schedule.
Week 1: Pittsburgh – The home opener, in prime time, against a Super Bowl favorite: everything Redskins fans fear coming off a playoff season. Remember the last time Washington opened on Monday Night after winning the NFC East? They were humiliated by the Eagles. History is history, though. Kirk Cousins comes out a little rusty, but gets the offense rolling en route to a season opening statement win. The Redskins start by defending home turf and Cousins beats a team that more than likely will end up in the playoffs. Win, 1-0
Week 2: Dallas – Back-to-back home games to open the season benefits Washington as they look to repeat as NFC East Champs. Dak Prescott, with only one NFL start, struggles against a top tier secondary, and Washington wins a tight one. Similar to last year’s game in DC, the offense will struggle and this game will be won in the last minute or two. The Burgundy and Gold start the season with two home wins and get a leg up in the division. Win, 2-0.
Week 3: at NY Giants – Everything about playing the Giants in New York worries Redskins fans. After two home victories, Washington’s offense exchanges blows with the Giants throughout. Similar to the Dallas game, this game will come down to the 4th quarter, but the GMen will come out on top. This is the one divisional team Kirk Cousins has yet to truly figure out. New York takes a tight one on their home turf. Loss, 2-1
Week 4: Cleveland – The Robert Griffin III homecoming. After taking a tough divisional loss on the road, The Redskins return home and trounce the Browns. Fans chant “RGIII” mockingly as Kirk leads touchdown drive after touchdown drive. Griffin, meanwhile, continues to display poor pocket awareness and throws a pick 6. The once bright star fades as Cousins stakes his claim on the city of Washington. Win, 3-1
Week 5: at Baltimore – The Beltway rivalry. A game that many wish happened more frequently is a slugfest early, but the Ravens pull away in the second half. Lots of trash talk and a chippy game goes against the Redskins late. This is the type of game where someone could be tossed; Looking at you, DHall. Loss, 3-2
Week 6: Philadelphia– Sitting at 1-1 in the division, Washington returns home to take stake their claim on the division. The Eagles, off to a rough start with Carson Wentz under center, are no match for the ‘Skins. Cousins throws multiple touchdowns to DeSean Jackson and the defense forces multiple turnovers. Win, 4-2
Week 7: at Detroit – Washington gets its first road win of the season in Detroit. The Lions, san Calvin Johnson, are more balanced and keep the game close. Cousins and company, however, take control behind the first big rushing game of the Matt Jones era. The Hogs look reborn and the ‘Skins head to London on a two-game winning streak. Win, 5-2
Week 8: at Cincinnati (in London) – Football in England! Nothing better for NFL fans then to wake up at 10:30am on a Sunday and have football already on the TV. This game, similar to the Cowboys game, turns into a slugfest. With both teams trading defensive blows, the Bengals strike late to win the war across the pond. Despite the loss, the Redskins prove they belong and head in a much needed bye ready for the second half of the season. Loss, 5-3
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Minnesota – Coming off a restful week, Cousins begin his charge as a dark horse MVP candidate. Minnesota, without Teddy Bridgewater, continues to struggle to score points and pose little threat. Cousins, meanwhile, shines with multiple touchdowns to multiple targets and Washington takes sole position of first place in the NFC East. Win, 6-3
Week 11: Green Bay – In a rematch of last year’s NFC Wild Card game, Green Bay again shows they are one of the teams to beat in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers proves too tough for the Washington defense and leads a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to seal the win. The Redskins rue missed chances early in the game. Sound familiar? Loss, 6-4
Week 12: at Dallas (Thanksgiving Day) – Thanksgiving and football. That’s what the Redskins and Cowboys do. Tony Romo, back behind center, Dallas looks great early on and heads in halftime with the lead. However, Washington scores on the opening drive of the second half and Romo gets crushed by Ryan Kerrigan to knock him out. Washington rallies and wins going away. Win, 7-4
Week 13: at Arizona – The second of three straight road games brings the ‘Skins to Arizona. The Cards, in a dog fight in the West, beats up a tired Redskins team. Afterward, Gruden gets real honest in his press conference and is fined for cursing the NFL’s scheduling. Damn you Goodell! Loss, 7-5
Week 14: at Philadelphia – The final leg of the three game road trip, Washington rolls into Philly needing a big divisional win. Kirk Cousins again slings the rock all around the field and Eagles fans mutter “damn you, Jordan Reed” all the way home. Win, 8-5
Week 15: Carolina – In the biggest game of the year, on Monday Night Football no less, the ‘Skins use the extra day of rest and pound the Panthers front 7 early. With Matt Jones doing the dirty work, Cousins hits rookie Josh Doctson deep to pull ahead early in the fourth quarter. The game, now on the defense’s shoulders, gets the stop as Josh Norman picks off Newton to seal the win. Win, 9-5
Week 16: at Chicago – The Burgundy and Gold ride into Chicago full of bravado as they are seemingly playoff bound. In game Washington should win, the team struggles in the cold weather in Chicago. The Bears, out of the playoff picture, play a surprisingly inspired game in front of their home faithful. Loss, 9-6
Week 17: NY Giants – New Year’s Day, at home, and a rowdy crowd. In a winner takes all game, the Redskins squash the Giants in front a national audience. Having missed an opportunity to clinch the division the week before, Cousins talks trash up and down the field and cements himself as the Redskins starter for years to come. Win, 10-6, and NFC East Champs.