- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Sept. 11

Chicago

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

Season openers have been good to the Redskins: They’ve won three straight and four out of five. It’s everything that comes after that’s been a problem. The Bears will start rookie quarterback Kyle Orton but have added receiver Muhsin Muhammad. Because the Redskins are unlikely to be favored to win again until Oct. 23, this contest might be the earliest “must-win” in NFL history.

Sept. 19

Dallas

Texas Stadium

9 p.m.

Chs. 7, 2

The Redskins face their archrival in the NFC East opener for both teams. Dallas has won 14 of the past 15 meetings, including both games last year by three points. The Redskins are 24-28 all-time on Monday night but have only two “MNF” wins since 1994. The Cowboys have a new quarterback in Drew Bledsoe, but their best offensive player is running back Julius Jones.

Oct. 2

Seattle

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

Following the earliest bye week in team history, the Redskins play host to a Seattle team that won the dreadful NFC West last season. The Seahawks’ offense features quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander, and the defense has been re-tooled with the addition of linebacker Jamie Sharper, defensive end Bryce Fisher and cornerbacks Kelly Herndon and Andre Dyson.

Oct. 9

Denver

Invesco Field at Mile High

4:15 p.m.

Ch. 5

The Redskins and Broncos play for only the 10th time and the first since Washington’s 17-10 win in Denver four years ago. The Broncos were ninth in scoring offense (23.8 points) and scoring defense (19 ppg.) last year but managed only a wild-card loss at Indianapolis. This game should be right up Gregg Williams’ alley. He figures to have some surprises for Jake Plummer.

Oct. 16

Kansas City

Arrowhead Stadium

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

K.C.’s defense was terrible last year — it ranked next to last — so the Chiefs added cornerback Patrick Surtain, safety Sammy Knight and linebackers Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson. Still, this is a good chance for the Redskins to break 25 points, and they might need to. The Chiefs offense features quarterback Trent Green and running back Priest Holmes and averaged 30.2 points.

Oct. 23

San Francisco

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

Old Home Week, Part I. San Francisco coach Mike Nolan was the Redskins’ defensive coordinator from 1997 to 1999, the last time Washington made the playoffs. The 49ers were truly awful last year: They were 2-14 and scored both wins over Arizona. Tim Rattay is the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, but Alex Smith may have the keys by late October. Even the most cynical Redskins observer has this one chalked up as a victory.

Oct. 30

N.Y. Giants

Meadowlands

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

Washington returns to NFC East action for the first time in a month. The Redskins committed seven turnovers last year in East Rutherford and still lost only 20-14. It will be the first meeting with former Redskins middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, who departed via free agency, and former third-string quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, who is Eli Manning’s backup. The Giants’ big offseason addition on offense was receiver Plaxico Burress.

Nov. 6

Philadelphia

FedEx Field

8:30 p.m.

ESPN

The Redskins make their final national television appearance of the season and play host to the Eagles in prime time for the fourth consecutive year (they’re 0-3). Like Dallas, the Eagles have dominated the Redskins in recent years, winning seven straight by an average 15.4 points. Despite all of their preseason drama, the Eagles remain the team to beat because of Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and a swarming defense.

Nov. 13

at Tampa Bay

Raymond James Stadium

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

Remember the last time the Redskins played Tampa Bay? The Redskins won Gibbs’ debut 16-10, and it seemed not a matter of whether Washington would make the playoffs, but how many postseason games it would play. This year’s matchup has a lot less buzz. The Bucs are a shell of the team that won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.

Nov. 20

Oakland

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 9

Old Home Week, Part 2. Norv Turner, 50-60-1 in six-plus seasons as Redskins’ coach, returns for the first time since his late-season firing in 2000. Also back is receiver Randy Moss, who helped punch his own ticket out of Minnesota by leaving the field in the final seconds of the Vikings’ loss to the Redskins last year. Moss, Kerry Collins and ex-Maryland Terp LaMont Jordan present another challenge for the Washington defense.

Nov. 27

San Diego

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 9

Old Home Week, Part 3. Ex-Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer brings the defending AFC West champions east. The guess here is that he won’t be having dinner Saturday night with Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato. The Chargers have arguably the AFC’s best running back (LaDainian Tomlinson) and tight end (Antonio Gates) and a defense that added former Maryland star Shawne Merriman.

Dec. 4

St. Louis

Edward Jones Dome

4:05 p.m.

Ch. 5

The Redskins have won five of the teams’ last six meetings, including the last three in St. Louis. Washington’s only dome game of the year presents a formidable obstacle. For all the criticism of Mike Martz, his teams know how to gain yards with the passing game. The Rams ranked fifth in that department last year as Marc Bulger threw for 3,964 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Dec. 11

Arizona

Sun Devil Stadium

4:05 p.m.

Ch. 5

The Redskins traveled to the desert 14 straight years from 1988 to 2001 until the league wised up and put the Cardinals in the NFC West. Arizona, with Kurt Warner at quarterback and Dennis Green as coach, is the “in” pick to win the NFC West. By mid-December, chances are Josh McCown will be the quarterback and they’ll have a losing record.

Dec. 18

Dallas

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

If the NFC East race is still in doubt by this point, the Redskins will figure in the outcome: This game starts a stretch of three straight division contests to end the season. The Cowboys won a 21-18 squeaker here last year, aided by Richie Anderson’s halfback TD pass. Dallas is 6-1 in its last seven trips to Washington.

Dec. 24

N.Y. Giants

FedEx Field

1 p.m.

Ch. 5

The Redskins were at their finest when the Giants visited late last season. Washington won 31-7 as the offense cracked 20 points for the first time, Patrick Ramsey was 19 of 22 with three touchdowns, and the defense pitched a shutout (New York’s only TD was on a kickoff return). Unless something really unpredictable happens, both teams will be playing out the string on Christmas Eve.

Jan. 1

Philadelphia

Lincoln Financial Field

4:15 p.m.

Ch. 5

The Redskins play on New Year’s Day for the first time since 1984, when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 51-7 in the NFC playoffs. Their best chance against Philly is if the Eagles have home field already locked up and Andy Reid rests most of his starters.

— Ryan O’Halloran


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