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The Professor weighs in on Redskins

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

John Clayton, a McCann Award recipient, recently took a road trip to see the Panthers, Falcons, Titans and Bengals. But he took the time to answer an NFC East-related question in his weekly mailbag. John was asked whether he thought the Redskins were a playoff contender and how much their season hinged on Devin Thomas' development.

"To me, the Redskins remain a playoff contender," writes Clayton. "They were last year. They are this year. They do have the easiest schedule in the NFC East. With the additions of Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo, the Redskins will have a top-10 defense. If they can avoid injuries, they could be a top-five defense. Thomas should come on as the No. 3 receiver. He's had a decent offseason. If they can get to 21 points a game, they could have a very interesting season."

There it is. That magic 21 points per game barrier. Last year, the Redskins averaged 16.6 points per game, which ranked 28th in the league. The defense gave up 18.5 points per game, which put them sixth in the league. So where do the extra five points come from? Well, you're hoping that Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly arrive this season. And you need for Stephon Heyer to play relatively well at right tackle. Oh, and Clinton Portis needs to stay healthy for an entire season.

Do you guys see this offense improving by five points per game? Haynesworth and Orakpo should definitely help the defense, but it's not like that side of the ball was a problem last season.