I keep on reading on Twitter that the Redskins have a “tough” schedule in 2013. However, the numbers do not support that adjective, at least in terms of their opponents’ 2012 records.
The Redskins’ 2013 opponents had a cumulative record of 127-128-1 for a winning percentage of .498. That ranks 18th in terms of difficulty in the NFL
Certainly, there are some games that appear to be difficult. They play the NFC champion 49ers at FedEx Field and face road trips to Green Bay, Atlanta, and Denver. There are two other games against two other teams that posted double-digit wins, the Bears at home and at Minnesota.
But there are eight games against teams that finished .500 or worse. They will play five games against teams with new head coaches.
Four of those games against .500 or worse teams come in the division against the 8-8 Cowboys and the 4-12 Eagles. In Dallas they are changing to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and there is an entirely new coaching staff in Philly under Chip Kelly. It might be better to catch those teams earlier in the schedule rather than later.
All of this is interesting February conversation but the chances are it won’t mean much once the season starts. The discussion template on the 2012 schedule was that the easier games were early in the schedule and that they have better go into the bye with a winning record if they were going to have a chance. Of course, they went into the bye at 3-6 and then swept those last seven “tough” games to win the division at 10-6.
Five of those seven wins were against the NFC East. It was a down year for the division but that was due in no small part to the Redskins’ 5-1 intradivision record. If they can do that again, win most of the other games they should win and pull off an upset or two they should be in pretty good shape.