With the NFL schedule (times and dates) being released Wednesday night, here's a refresher course on what we already know about their 2014 games:
Home opponents: Dallas, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Tennessee.
Road opponents: Dallas, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis and Minnesota.
The Redskins play two games against a team that finished with a top-10 offense in terms of total yards (Philadelphia) and five games against teams that finished in the bottom five (Giants, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Houston). All of those teams finished in the bottom five in points per game as well. They play three games against teams that finished in the top 10 in points per game (Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle).
They’ll get to play in the 49ers’ new stadium (Yea! The old one was horrible) in Santa Clara (Boo! It's 38 miles from my favorite city in the country. But I’ll still be staying in San Francisco, so don’t worry your pretty little heads.) and also play in a college stadium at Minnesota. The Metrodome is done -- thank goodness -- so the Vikings will play at the University of Minnesota’s stadium this season. It’s outdoors; I hope this game is early in the year. The NFL had to work around restrictions placed on the Vikings’ schedule by the university.
DeSean Jackson can’t wait to face the Eagles twice and obviously will get that opportunity for the next few years. Will one be in prime time? Tough to see how it won’t.
Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck will meet in a real game for the first time. Griffin had the more dynamic rookie season; Luck was better in the second year. Given Griffin’s knee injury, there’s more uncertainty surrounding his future than Luck’s. But we’ll have a much stronger feel for Griffin’s future, perhaps, by the time they meet in the regular season (unless it’s the first game). A year ago this would have been a lock for prime time. Now? Still might be.
Four other free-agent pickups will face their former teams: Jason Hatcher (Dallas), Andre Roberts (Arizona), Darryl Sharpton (Houston) and Mike McGlynn (Indianapolis). A backup lineman (most likely) facing his former team? Shivers. But the other three are expected to play key roles, so facing their former team will be interesting. And, yes, the Arizona matchup will be Lorenzo Alexander’s first game against his former team.
The Redskins will play two home games against teams that made the postseason in 2013: Philadelphia and Seattle. They’ll play three games on the road against playoff teams: Philadelphia, San Francisco and Indianapolis.
The Redskins have the 17th-toughest strength of schedule as their opponents had a .490 winning percentage in 2013. Of course, we saw last season how much things can change for a team in one year. Keep in mind: Detroit entered last season with the NFL’s second-hardest schedule, based on 2012 records. It ended up that the Lions played the fourth easiest schedule, based on 2013 finishes.
For those wondering why the Redskins’ schedule isn’t easier after a 3-13 year, remember, 14 of their opponents were pre-determined (it's been this way for a while). The only two games based on their finish? Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
The Colts have the easiest schedule (.430). Why? Look at the other teams in their division: Tennessee (7-9), Jacksonville (4-12) and Houston (2-14). And they have two pre-determined games against Washington (3-13) and Cleveland (4-12). So half of their games are against teams that finished a combined 40 games under .500.
Oakland has the toughest schedule (.578), which, of course is due to the fact it plays in the AFC West where the other three teams made the playoffs.