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NFC East Preview: Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III returns from injury with the hopes of a city firmly on his shoulders.

Robert Griffin III returns from injury with the hopes of a city firmly on his shoulder pads.

The Washington Redskins emerged as one of the league’s surprise teams a year ago, beating the odds to win a tough NFC East and advancing to the postseason.

This year Mike Shanahan’s side will look to prove that 2012 was no fluke. Doing just that though could prove to be a tall order for a team that may or may not be at war with itself.

BettingSports.com concludes an in depth look at the NFC East this week with a preview of the 2013 Washington Redskins. Can the Redskins succeed for a second straight year or will we be looking at a return to the type of form that saw the franchise mire itself in the doldrums of the NFC?

2012 Overview

Recent_History_WASThe arrival of Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, brought a hope and optimism to the nation’s capital not seen since the days of Joe Theismann. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration – the ‘Skins did win Super Bowl XXVI with Mark Rypien under center – but Griffin’s arrival pumped life into a team that had emerged as a perennial loser.

Any hope was dampened early though as the Redskins proceeded to struggle their way to a 3-6 record that included three losses at home. A road loss to the St. Louis Rams (Week 3) and a home loss to the Carolina Panthers (Week 9) were particularly tough on the team.

As a Week 10 bye rolled around, it wasn’t all doom and gloom at FedEx Field though. Washington had dropped those six games by an average of seven points, and had been within a single score in five of them. A score here or there and the Redskins could have been 8-1.

From Week 11, the rub began to favor the Redskins. Following a 31-6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins began to win close games. First they earned a one-touchdown win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, then a one-point home win over the New York Giants. Before you could say “nickname controversy,” the Redskins rattled off seven straight wins, including five against NFC East opposition. They closed the season 10-6, unbeaten since their bye week and with a first division championship since 1999.

The noise stopped there though. The Redskins would fall 24-14 to the Seattle Seahawks in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, with Griffin suffering a knee injury that is still making headlines today. While it may have been a premature end to the season, the Redskins making the postseason was news in itself; the team had made the playoffs just four times since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 1991 season.


In terms of transactions, life has been pretty quiet at Redskins Park. The team allowed OT Jammal Brown, S Madieu Williams, CB Cedric Griffin and LB Lorenzo Alexander to leave the club as free agents. Only Alexander was picked up by another team (Arizona Cardinals). The Redskins will hardly be lacking without.


It was hardly rush hour when it came to picking up talent either. The Redskins’ front office set about re-signing no fewer than 14 players, including TE Fred Davis, CB DeAngelo Hall, and FB Darrel Young. If you’re looking for a team happy with its 2012 roster, look no further.

The team did however add OT Jeremy Trueblood and CB E.J. Biggers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and LB Darrel Tapp from Philadelphia.

Having sent this year’s first round pick to St. Louis in exchange for the No. 2 pick, with which they took Griffin, the Redskins added CB David Amerson in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, TE Jordan Reed in the third round, S Phillip Thomas is the fourth, and a pair of Florida State Seminoles (RB Chris Thompson and OLD Brandon Jennings) in the fifth.

News & Notes

The biggest noise this offseason as it pertained to the Redskins was the injury suffered by Griffin in last year’s wildcard loss.  Griffin tore an ACL which required an operation by Dr. James Andrews. The second-year quarterback has been rehabbing since undergoing the treatment in January.

The latest reports have confirmed that Griffin will start in Monday’s season-opener against the Eagles, despite not having played at all during the Redskins’ 4-0 preseason campaign. That’s good news for Redskin fans, and possibly bad news for the rest of the NFC East. Of course, there’s no guarantee Griffin will have an Adrian Peterson-like return, and one small knock could put him, and the Redskins, out of commission.

Aside from the injury, questions have arisen about Griffin’s relationship with Head Coach Mike Shanahan. For the time being that particular storyline appears to be on the backburner. How long for remains to be seen.

There’s little more to report on-field wise for the Redskins, who have retained a huge portion of their roster, something not all that common in Landover. Off the field the organization continues to face criticism in terms of the team nickname, an issue that in all likelihood isn’t going to go away until owner Dan Snyder relinquishes his ties with a bygone era. Don’t expect the issue to go away anytime soon then.


Schedule_WASBefore we even get into the matter of divisional play, the Redskins are in for a tough season. The Redskins will hit the road for games against the Green Bay Packers (Week 2), Denver Broncos (Week 8), Minnesota Vikings (Week 10) and Atlanta Falcons (Week 15), all of which made the playoffs last year. Add to that road games against the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles and you’re looking at a lot of tough games away from FedEx Field.

Back home, things aren’t likely to be all that easy either. Both the Chicago Bears (Week 7) and San Francisco 49ers (Week 12) visit FedEx Field, with both games coming after the Redskins return from road games against the Cowboys and Eagles. Add to this visits from the Detroit Lions (Week 3), San Diego Chargers (Week 9) and Kansas City Chiefs (Week 14), all of which look like they will be improved this year, and the Redskins’ hopes of making it two straight years in the postseason – for the first time since three straight appearance between 1990-92 – look to be fading away.

Of course, the Redskins’ participation in the NFC East means that they’re not out of contention just yet. Typically, in the NFC East it’s all about how you fair against your divisional rivals. The Redskins went 5-1 against division opponents last year, which ultimately proved the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Another year like that would give Griffin and Co. a lot of leeway when it comes to that string of tough road games.

Current Odds

Here is a selection of the odds currently available from Bovada.

Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVIII: 33/1 (Rank: 15)

Odds to Win NFC: 18/1 (Rank: 9)

Odds to Win NFC East: 5/2 (Rank: 3)

Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 Over (-105) Under (-125)

Will the Washington Redskins Make the Playoffs: Yes (+140) No (-170)

Division_odds_NFCEast_2The uncertainty surrounding Griffin’s health alongside that tough schedule has the Redskins on the wrong side of the bookmakers’ expectations. Ahead of Week 1, Washington is (narrowly) behind both Dallas and the Giants in the NFC East futures.

Eight teams rank higher than the Redskins in the NFC futures alone, while another six AFC teams are predicted to finish above the Redskins. As it stands, the team isn’t expected to make the postseason. However, last year the Redskins were expected to fall before the playoffs but those bettors taking odds of +450 for the team to play in January were rewarded for their faith, and handed Vegas a rabbit punch to the guts in the process. Who’s to say a similar scenario will not evolve this year?

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Links to the rest of BettingSports.com’s NFC East preview can be found below:

[Dallas Cowboys preview]

[New York Giants preview]

[Philadelphia Eagles preview]

For more NFL team prop bets, click here.

For more NFL player prop bets, click here.

For a full list of NFL Futures, click here.

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