- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WEEK-BY-WEEK LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE

SEPT. 9

Miami, FedEx Field, 1 p.m.

Trent Green, Washington’s quarterback in 1998, makes his Dolphins debut, as do ex-Redskins coaches Cam Cameron and Terry Robiskie.

Of more concern for Joe Gibbs is that left tackle Chris Samuels and quarterback Jason Campbell are coming off knee injuries suffered this summer and they’ve got to deal with Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, who embarrasses left tackles and punishes quarterbacks for a living.

SEPT. 17

At Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m.

Neither “Monday Night Football” (10-15) nor Philadelphia (8-8) has been good to Gibbs during his Hall of Fame career. Combine the two and the result is the infamous “Body Bag” drubbing by the Eagles in 1990.

A repeat isn’t likely, but Philadelphia presents serious problems for a young QB like Campbell with its terrific secondary and pass rushing end Jevon Kearse. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has given Redskins defenses fits for years.

SEPT. 23

N.Y. Giants, FedEx Field, 4:15 p.m.

This game would have more oomph if former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington hadn’t been waived by the Giants before the season. Still, it’s an NFC East game, even if the Redskins and Giants figure to battle for the cellar.

The Redskins are thrilled that Tiki Barber, who tore through them for 234 yards last Dec. 30, has retired. If they lose in Philly, the Redskins really will need this one as they head into the bye week.

OCT. 7

Detroit, FedEx Field, 1 p.m.

If any game can look like a gimme for a team coming off a 5-11 season, it’s this one. The Redskins will be rested, and the Lions will have just played back-to-back games against the Eagles and Bears.

The Lions compiled a 6-42 record on the road and a 24-72 mark overall the past six years under GM Matt Millen. QB Jon Kitna threw for 4,200 yards last season and now has a new target in rookie wideout Calvin Johnson.

OCT. 14

At Green Bay, 1 p.m.

Judging by how fast hotel rooms disappeared in Green Bay when the NFL schedule was released this spring, Packers fans believe this truly will be the final year for QB Brett Favre, their hero since 1992.

Favre turns 38 the week of this game; facing the Redskins will be a relief after seeing the Bears’ fearsome defense the previous Sunday. The Pack doesn’t play another home game for a month, making this Favre’s last game on unfrozen tundra.

OCT. 21

Arizona, FedEx Field, 1 p.m.

The Cardinals are 13-51 on the road since 1998, their last playoff season, and have a rookie coach in Ken Whisenhunt.

Trouble is, Whisenhunt’s an offense guy and the Cards need more help on defense than offense, where they have wideouts Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, QB Matt Leinart and running back Edgerrin James. With four straight games against playoff teams ahead, the Redskins better win this one.

OCT. 28

At New England, 4:15 p.m.

A huge jump in class and the Redskins’ toughest test of the season. The Patriots posted a 43-11 record at home en route to winning three of the past six Super Bowls.

Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady are the ultimate winners of their era, and the defense is studded with big-time performers. The Redskins’ best bet? Hope the Patriots are looking ahead to their showdown with the Colts the next week.

NOV. 4

At New York Jets, 1 p.m.

The Jets, a surprise playoff team last year, might be the easiest opponent of a grueling, four-game stretch that starts with the Patriots and finishes with the Eagles and Cowboys.

Talk about a grudge match: These teams meet for the first time since they swapped disgruntled wideouts Laveranues Coles and Santana Moss in 2005. Another guy with a grudge is guard Pete Kendall, whose contract dispute with the Jets prompted a trade to the Redskins two weeks ago.

NOV. 11

Philadelphia, FedEx Field, 1 p.m.

By now, the East race should be more clear: The defending champion Eagles face the Cowboys at home the previous week, completing a first round of games against division foes.

The Redskins went 5-4 in home games against division opponents in the first three seasons of Gibbs’ second tenure. Winning this one is a must if they are to make their second trip to the playoffs in four years.

NOV. 18

At Dallas, 1 p.m.

For the first time in three years, the Redskins’ annual visit to Texas Stadium isn’t planned for national television. Wade Phillips vs. Joe Gibbs just doesn’t put out the gotta-watch vibe of a Tuna vs. Coach Joe throwdown.

The Cowboys possess a fast, young defense, rising QB Tony Romo and superb receiver Terrell Owens. Gibbs owns a surprising 7-7 mark at Dallas, but the Redskins have lost 10 of their past 11 there, winning only the Brunell-to-Moss miracle in 2005.

NOV. 25

At Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

The Redskins should feel at home here: This marks their fourth game in 24 months in the stadium with the pirate ship in the end zone. The first was a wild 36-35 Bucs victory, the second a 17-10 wild-card upset for the Redskins. The last was Campbell’s first start Nov. 19, another narrow defeat.

The Bucs still have linebacker Derrick Brooks and corner Ronde Barber, but their offense makes Tampa residents reach for the No-Doz. The Skins could steal a road W.

DEC. 2

Buffalo, FedEx Field, 1 p.m.

A Bills-Redskins matchup hasn’t generated excitement since the teams met in the Super Bowl 16 seasons ago. This one, however, should have at least a little pizzazz: Redskins defensive guru Gregg Williams would love to inflict pain on the organization that fired him after the 2003 season.

Watch Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and Bills guard Derrick Dockery. They switched sides in March and want to show their former teams they’re worth their big contracts.

DEC. 6

Chicago, FedEx Field, 8:15 p.m.

Nothing like three days to get ready for Brian Urlacher and the defending NFC champions, right Coach Joe? The Bears likewise will lack proper prep time and also must travel, but the Redskins just don’t pose the same degree of challenge.

There will be no love lost with Bears safety Adam Archuleta, whose dreadful year in Washington symbolized all that went wrong with the Redskins last season.

DEC. 16

At N.Y. Giants, 8:15 p.m.

This is more like it: 10 days to prepare for the rematch with the G-men — even if does mean a frosty, windy night in the Jersey swamps. With three games left, the Giants might well be counting the days they have left to work for head martinet Tom Coughlin.

DEC. 23

At Minnesota, 1 p.m.

This late in the year, Redskins players will be thankful the Vikings still play indoors. The Redskins are 4-2 in domes (counting Houston’s retractable roof) and 18-26 outdoors since Gibbs returned in 2004.

This game doesn’t figure to mean much, but it will be a big day for Redskins corner Fred Smoot, who has been vocal about how much he hated his two years in Minnesota.

DEC. 30

Dallas, 1 p.m.

It would be terrific if the NFC East title were on the line. Instead, the Redskins can only hope to douse the Cowboys’ postseason dreams. So, more than a few veterans could be wearing the burgundy and gold for the final time.

The big question might well be whether this will be the career finale for Gibbs, who turns 67 a month earlier and will be heading into a lame-duck season.

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