Redskins schedule 2012

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Sun., Sept. 9 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

Quarterback Robert Griffin III debuts in his family’s hometown. Coach Mike Shanahan can finally unleash whatever new wrinkles he has added to his offense with Griffin on the team. The Saints will be led by interim-interim head coach Aaron Kromer in the wake of their bounty scandal.

Sun., Sept. 16 at St. Louis Rams, 4:05 p.m., Fox

The Redskins can thank St. Louis brass in person for the blockbuster trade that enabled them to move up in the draft to select Griffin. The Rams (2-14), one of three teams in the conference with a worse record than Washington in 2011, are now coached by longtime Shanahan friend Jeff Fisher.

Sun., Sept. 23 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS

The Redskins will look to make Christmas a little less merry for Michael Vick and the Eagles when they travel for a holiday matchup Dec. 23. (Associated Press)

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The Redskins will look to make Christmas a little less merry for ... more >

Griffin debuts at home against a team that made the playoffs in 2011 with a rookie quarterback — Andy Dalton, a second-rounder out of Texas Christian. The Bengals provided a model for success the Redskins could benefit from: the seventh-ranked defense and a serviceable running game.

Sun., Sept. 30 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Another game against a team with fewer wins than the Redskins had last season qualifies as a must-win. The Bucs have a new coach in Greg Schiano, formerly of Rutgers. Schiano replaced Raheem Morris, who now coaches the Redskins’ defensive backs. Morris’ knowledge of Tampa Bay’s personnel should help.

Sun., Oct. 7 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox

The Falcons also recently established a blueprint for making the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. Matt Ryan, the third-overall pick in 2008, relied on a running game that ranked second in the NFL that season with 152.7 yards per game. Roddy White and Julio Jones could be the NFL’s best receiving tandem this year.

Sun., Oct. 14 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The Vikings won only three games last season, but one of them was over Washington on Christmas Eve. Running back Adrian Peterson tore left knee ligaments in that game. The Redskins must have a winning record after this one because the schedule becomes much more difficult.

Sun., Oct. 21 at New York Giants, 1 p.m., Fox

The Redskins, oddly, don’t play an NFC East opponent until Week 7, and this is their only divisional game in the first nine. Griffin will encounter Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who defiantly calls him “Bob Griffin” instead of “RG3.”

Sun., Oct. 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., Fox

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