The NFL releases its 2017 schedule at 8pm tonight. The Washington Redskins face a critical year after finishing with an unimpressive 8-7-1 record in 2016. The Redskins will face the entire NFC West and the entire AFC West this upcoming season. Washington finished 3-4-1 on the road last season, which is pretty impressive for the franchise considering that they had the first place schedule due to winning the NFC East title in 2015.
The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams are winnable games for Washington. The 49ers are unsettled at quarterback, and are unsettled in general. The Rams have an underwhelming offense with quarterback Jared Goff entering his second year. Running back Todd Gurley will look to rebound from a sub-par second season, as his rushing yardage and yards per carry declined from his 2015 rookie season. Slowing down Gurley and wide receiver Tavon Austin will be crucial for the revamped Redskins’ defense.
Hopefully the Redskins have their frequent flier miles accounted for. That’s because the Seattle Seahawks and Rams’ games will both be played on the West Coast. In addition, the Redskins will have to face the Los Angeles Chargers on the road in Carson, California. If that becomes an early season game (quite possibly the Chargers’ home opener), the Chargers will be fired up in an effort to beat Washington. The Redskins will face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, where Washington has an 0-3 record.
Early whispers regarding the upcoming schedule has Washington hosting the Philadelphia Eagles Week 1. It also has the Redskins hosting the New York Giants on Thanksgiving night, and facing the Dallas Cowboys on the road the week after the Thanksgiving game. Washington will probably end the season in New York facing the Giants, as the NFL usually has divisional opponents playing each other to end the season.
But all of this is mere speculation. Maybe the schedule maker will have Washington playing the Rams and Chargers in consecutive weeks in Los Angeles. Maybe they’ll have a string of divisional games towards the end of the season. In any event, the Redskins need to prove they can win tough games on the road to improve on last season’s record.