The Washington Redskins are coming off a division-winning season, yet at the same time failed to beat a single opponent with a winning record. Will the team continue to make strides and earn their first consecutive winning seasons since the 1996 and 1997 seasons? Or will they regress and allow bad habits to set in, so that they are once again sitting on the outside looking in? Below are my full season predictions for the Washington Redskins’ 2016-2017 season.
Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh
The Redskins open their season on Monday Night Football, a primetime stage on which they have performed horribly in recent seasons. However, this Redskins team is able to buck the trend, as they squeak by the Steelers thanks to a defensive stand on 4th down to secure the victory. The Redskins are able to contain Steelers’ star running back LeVeon Bell and Josh Norman is able to keep Antonio Brown from finding the end zone. Cousins throws for 250 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, as DeSean Jackson catches a long Cousins bomb for a touchdown. Matt Jones adds 90 yards rushing along with a score.
Final Score: Washington 24 – Pittsburgh 20
Current Record: 1-0
Week 2: vs. Dallas
The Cowboys’ running attack is too much for Washington, as Ezekiel Elliott rushes for 143 yards and two scores. Cousins struggles to get in a rhythm, and finishes with only 184 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, each going to tight end Jordan Reed. The Redskins pass rush has trouble pressuring Romo, who throws for 312 yards and two touchdowns. This game ends ugly in the nation’s capital.
Final Score: Washington 17 – Dallas 31
Current Record: 1-1
Week 3: at New York Giants
The Redskins rebound in week three against another divisional opponent, the Giants. The hype for this game grows throughout the week as Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. take shots at each other through the media. On the field, neither one is able to truly dominate the other, with Beckham hauling in 87 receiving yards but held scoreless. Cousins throws his first 300 yard game of the season as well as 3 touchdowns, one of which goes to Josh Doctson for his first career NFL touchdown. Matt Jones runs the ball well but does not score. Skins’ kicker Dustin Hopkins has a big game, nailing all three of his field goal attempts. Redskins win their first road game of the season as they pull away from New York in the second half.
Final Score: New York Giants 18 – Washington Redskins 30
Current Record: 2-1
Week 4: vs. Cleveland
Robert Griffin III returns to a chorus of boos in Washington, and the Redskins defense does not treat him any better. Griffin gets sacked five times, twice by Ryan Kerrigan, as the Skins’ defense pressures RG3 all game. Griffin is picked off twice, and the Redskins cruise to a victory over the lowly Browns. Cousins plays well, connecting with Jordan Reed for his lone passing touchdown. Matt Jones has a career day on the ground, running for 163 yards and two scores.
Final Score: Washington 27 – Cleveland 10
Current Record: 3-1
Week 5: at Baltimore
Kirk Cousins plays poorly, the Redskins defense falters, and Washington falls to their neighbors across the Beltway. Cousins throws two touchdowns, but also throws three interceptions, stopping any momentum the team tries to build. The defense cannot get enough pressure on Flacco to force bad throws, and the failure of the front seven causes the secondary to get exposed. In a game that is not pretty on the eyes, the Ravens ultimately thwart any chance of a Washington victory with a late interception of Cousins.
Final Score: Baltimore 23 – Washington 17
Current Record: 3-2
Week 6: vs. Philadelphia
The Redskins face off against the Eagles, who name Carson Wentz the starter prior to this game. Washington ruins Wentz’s debut, as cornerback duo of Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman give Wentz almost no space to get the ball to his receivers. Cousins bounces back from last week, and orchestrates a masterful offensive display, throwing five touchdowns to five different players.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 38 – Philadelphia Eagles 20
Current Record: 4-2
Week 7: at Detroit
Coming off of an impressive win in Philly, the Redskins keep their momentum rolling against the Lions. The defense intercepts Stafford twice in the first half and Cousins throws for two touchdowns as Washington leads 17-0 at the half. Keith Marshall scores his first career NFL touchdown as he breaks free for a 52 yard score, as the Redskins cruise in Detroit.
Final Score: Detroit Lions 10 – Washington Redskins 24
Current Record: 5-2
Week 8: at Cincinnati (game played in London)
Washington takes a trip to England as the team looks to finish strong before the bye. Unfortunately, they run into a stout Cincinnati defense and struggle to find any rhythm on offense. The Bengals manage to keep pressure on Cousins for the entire game, and outside of a long DeSean Jackson touchdown, the Redskins fail to show any kind of offensive spark. Both team’s defense play well, but in the end, Cincinnati’s offense outplays Washington’s, and the Redskins lose in London.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 13 – Cincinnati Bengals 20
Current Record: 5-3
Week 9: Bye
The Redskins go into the bye tied for first in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. However, the team will be tested over the next few weeks, playing through a grueling six-week stretch that has Washington playing four teams that reached the playoffs in 2015.
Week 10: vs. Minnesota
The first team Washington faces out of their bye is the Vikings, and it is obvious that Jay Gruden has prepared Washington well during their week off. Cousins throws for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also running for one on a quarterback sneak, as the Redskins pick apart the usually formidable Minnesota defense. Ryan Kerrigan sacks Teddy Bridgewater twice, and the defense forces two turnovers, as Washington manages to pull away in the second half.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 27 – Minnesota Vikings 17
Current Record: 6-3
Week 11: vs. Green Bay
Washington stays at home for the next game on their murderer’s-row type schedule to take on the team that bounced them from the playoffs last season. Sadly for Washington, they will have to wait to get their revenge. Aaron Rodgers once again proves to be too much for Washington to handle, as he leads the Packers to a close victory over the home team. Matt Jones scores twice and Cousins throws for two touchdowns, but the Redskins fall in a shootout as Rodgers tosses four scores, including the game winner on a drive late in the fourth quarter.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 31 – Green Bay Packers 35
Current Record: 6-4
Week 12: at Dallas
Washington looks to steal a game in Dallas, after falling to the Cowboys in their first matchup of the season. In what turns out to be a very back and forth game, both quarterbacks play well, as Cousins and Romo both throw for three touchdowns apiece. Jordan Reed has a huge game for Washington, catching two touchdowns and racking up 143 receiving yards. Washington often crowds the box on defense in hopes to stop the Cowboys’ ground attack, which allows Dez Bryant to take advantage of man coverage and score two touchdowns of his own. Tied at the end of regulation, the Redskins win the coin toss and manage to make a field goal on their first possession, allowing Dallas one more chance to score. The defensive line manages to thwart a Dallas fourth-and-one attempt, and Washington leaves victorious.
Final Score(OT): Dallas Cowboys 24 – Washington Redskins 27
Current Record: 7-4
Week 13: at Arizona
The Redskins travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals, and unfortunately Washington may have left its offense behind. For the first time this season the Redskins are held without an offensive touchdown, only finding the end zone on a Chris Thompson kickoff return score. Cousins plays poorly and is intercepted twice, while the running game only musters 80 total yards on the ground. The defensive holds their own, but in the end it is not enough defeat Arizona.
Final Score: Arizona Cardinals 22 – Washington Redskins 10
Current Record: 7-5
Week 14: at Philadelphia
The Redskins bounce back nicely from their defeat in Arizona, as they once again beat the Eagles, this time by a slim margin. Cousins rebounds from last week by tossing two scores, while Josh Norman adds a pick six as the Redskins hammer Philadelphia early. The Eagles make a comeback in the second half, but ultimately fall short of Washington.
Final Score: Philadelphia Eagles 20 – Washington Redskins 24
Current Record: 8-5
Week 15: vs. Carolina
Josh Norman’s homecoming is spoiled as the defending Super Bowl champs prove why they are one of the league’s best. Carolina’s defense smothers the Redskins for most of the game, and two of Cousins’ three touchdowns come in garbage time. Cam Newton runs for almost 100 yards and throws for almost 300, while accounting for four Panthers scores. In what was supposed to serve as a good measuring stick game to see how well Washington could play with the best, they disappointingly fall flat.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 24 – Carolina Panthers 37
Current Record: 8-6
Week 16: at Chicago
Fighting for their playoff lives, Washington comes through in a must-win game thanks to late game heroics from Kirk Cousins. Totaling nearly 400 yards passing, Cousins leads Washington on a 75-yard game winning drive, finding Pierre Garcon in the back of the end zone with only seconds left. With their win, Washington knocks Chicago out of playoff contention after the Bears had put together a somewhat surprisingly successful season.
Final Score: Chicago Bears 27 – Washington Redskins 28
Current Record: 9-6
Week 17: vs. New York Giants
Washington travels to New York knowing that a win will clinch a playoff berth. The Cowboys have clinched the division at 11-5, but a Washington victory will lock them into the first wild card spot. Thanks to a raucous home crowd, the Redskins cruise to victory over the Giants, as the defense forces three turnovers, including a pick six by DeAngelo Hall. Matt Jones finishes the season on a strong note, rushing for 120 yards with a rushing and a receiving touchdown, and Washington clinches their spot in the 2016 playoffs.
Final Score: Washington Redskins 30 – New York Giants 14
Regular Season Record: 10-6
Wild Card Round: at Seattle Seahawks
Washington travels to Seattle to play the NFC West champion Seahawks in the first playoff game of the 2016 season. Washington starts the game off well, as the first possession ends in a Cousins-to-Reed touchdown. Seattle and Washington trade blows throughout most of the game, and with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Washington leads by three. As Russell Wilson looks to create a Seattle comeback, he is picked off by Josh Norman, sealing victory for Washington. Norman is mobbed by his teammates as the final seconds tick off of the game clock, clinching Washington’s first playoff victory since 2005.
Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 17 – Washington Redskins 20
Divisional Round: at Carolina Panthers
After watching Dallas fall to Arizona the day before, Washington looks to represent the NFC East in the Conference Championship. This contest proves to be much more competitive than their regular season meeting, and the game is tied going into the fourth quarter. A late Cam Newton touchdown pass gives Carolina a seven point lead with only 3 minutes remaining in the game. Cousins marches the Redskins down to the Panthers’ 20-yard line, where, after three straight incomplete passes, Washington faces a fourth-and-ten. With Cousins in the shotgun, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly breaks through the Redskins’ offensive line and sacks Cousins, ending the Redskins’ season.
Final Score: Carolina Panthers 27 – Washington Redskins 20
As you can see, I believe that the Redskins are in for a very successful season. The key to all of this will be Kirk Cousin’s progression and growth, but I believe he will prove that last season was not a fluke.
How do you see the Redskins doing this season? What did I get wrong? What do you agree with? Let me know your thoughts in comment section below!
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