Washington Redskins' 2016 schedule includes brutal seven-game stretch

Updated: April 15, 2016

11:27 PM ET

Breakdown: The Washington Redskins do have a chance for a solid start by opening with six of their first seven games against teams that failed to make the 2015 playoffs. And Pittsburgh will be minus suspended receiver Martavis Bryant for the opener. Still, Dallas and Baltimore could be in position for big bounce-back seasons. The Redskins have two short weeks in the second half of the season and have to travel for both. Washington will face two popular former Redskins early in the season: Dallas running back Alfred Morris in Week 2 and Cleveland quarterback Robert Griffin III in Week 4. The Redskins were knocked last season for not beating a team that finished with a winning record, and they only face two teams in the first eight games who were above .500 in 2015. But they face four such teams in the second half. Based on records from last season, there’s a distinct difference between the first seven games and the final nine. The first seven opponents combined to go 40-72 last season; the final nine went 84-60.

Brutal stretch: It’s hard to remember a stretch that in April looks as daunting as the one the Redskins face starting in late October, when they play Cincinnati in London, and stretching into mid-December. Of the seven games Washington will play during this stretch, five are against teams that made the playoffs and were a combined 61-19 last season with four division titles. And the other two games are against divisional opponents on the road, including one against the team that could be the preseason NFC East favorite (Dallas). Topping this stretch off is a Monday night game against Carolina followed by a Saturday game at Chicago. Did I mention the three consecutive road games for the first time since 2002? Spare me the conspiracy theories, but we can all agree the schedule-makers did the Redskins no favors in the second half of the season. At least they play two straight home games to open the season for the third time in five years.

Prime finish: The NFL certainly is counting on Washington being a good team in 2016, with three of their six national contests scheduled over the final seven games. And that follows a game in London. Of course, they open on Monday night as the undercard for Denver-Carolina. The Redskins went 1-2 in prime-time games last season. But bigger than playing in prime time will be duplicating last season’s success in the NFC East; they were 4-2 en route to the division title in 2015. With three divisional games in the first six, they’ll get a good feel for where they stand this season. Last season, four of their final six games were in the division. I’m surprised the NFL didn’t put Griffin’s return to Cleveland in a more prominent spot.

Strength of schedule: 17th, .492.

Redskins Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Monday, Sept. 12, Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18, Dallas, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25, at NY Giants, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, Cleveland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, at Detroit, 1 p.m.

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30, at Cincinnati (in London), 9:30 a.m.

  • Week 9: BYE

  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, Minnesota, 1 p.m.

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 24, at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

  • Week 15: Monday, Dec. 19, Carolina, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Chicago, 1 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, NY Giants, 1:00 p.m.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/washington-redskins/post/_/id/24509/washington-redskins-face-brutal-seven-game-stretch