- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018

How does Arizona in September sound? Hot, right? Good thing there’s a dome.

The Washington Redskins will open the season Sept. 9 on the road against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Cardinals matchup is the start of a 16-game slate for the Redskins that features three nationally-televised games, a Thanksgiving outing in Dallas and an even earlier bye week than last year. (Which was early, folks.)

The team’s schedule was released Thursday alongside the rest of the league, accompanied by a two-hour primetime special on ESPN and the NFL Network. Mark your calendars and get those predictions ready — who cares if the NFL draft is still a week away?

The Redskins will have the 14th hardest strength of schedule in 2018. After Arizona, they open at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 16. The following week, on Sept. 23, they’ll face the Green Bay Packers, also at home.

Washington will have its bye week during Week 4 — the team’s earliest since 2007. Last year, the Redskins had Week 5 bye, which turned out to be disastrous given the heavy amount of injuries to hit them later in the season.

Washington’s first nationally-televised outing will take place Oct. 8 against the New Orleans Saints on “Monday Night Football” at the Superdome. They’ll also appear on ESPN in Week 13, traveling to Philadelphia to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

This will be the third straight year in which the Redskins play on Thanksgiving, and the second time in three years they’ll travel to Dallas.

Most of the Redskins‘ home games will come in the first half of the season. But from Nov. 22 to the end of the season, the Redskins will be on the road for four the last six — which could be crucial if the Redskins are fighting for a playoff spot.

As for the opposing conference, the Redskins will take on the AFC South this year. They’ll face the Colts, the Houston Texas (home, Nov. 18) the Jacksonville Jaguars (away, Dec. 16) and the Tennessee Titans (away, Dec. 23) 

The Redskins close their season at home Week 17, facing the Eagles again.

Elsewhere, the NFL seemingly gave out breadcrumbs, again, to ESPN for its “Monday Night Football” package. Former play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough said last month he was happy to be done with a watered-down offering. “Generally we got one of the worst NFL games each week,” he told the New York Post.

And on paper, this season didn’t get dramatically better. “Monday Night Football” opens with a meeting between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions. Fun.

“Thursday Night Football,” on the other hand, will see more enticing matchups after Fox shelled out $550 million for a five-year deal. The series begins with a Vikings-Rams matchup on Sept. 27. (As a note here, this is when Fox’s deal begins. There are other Thursday night games before this. They’re bad.) 

The season opens on Thursday, Sept. 6 when the Eagles face the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.

The league will continue its series of international games. There will be three games played in London next season: Seahawks-Raiders on Oct. 14, Chargers-Titans on Oct. 21 and Eagles-Jaguars on Oct. 28.

The NFL will also travel to Mexico City, with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 19 on “Monday Night Football.” That should be fun since it will be a “revenge game” for cornerback Marcus Peters, who traded to the Rams in the offseason from Kansas City.

And if you swore off the Redskins for getting rid of Kirk Cousins, then don’t worry, you can watch the former quarterback take on Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 with the Vikings. Cousins and the Vikings have four primetime games. 

You’ll like that, I’m sure.

(The Redskins and the Vikings do not play each other in 2018.)

The Redskins‘ full schedule is below:

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9 at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. 

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16 vs. Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23 vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m.

Week 4: BYE

Week 5: Monday, Oct. 8 at New Orleans, 8:15 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14 vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.

Week 7: Monday, Oct. 21 vs. Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28 at New York, 1 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4 vs Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18 vs. Houston, 1 p.m.

Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 22 at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

Week 13: Monday, Dec. 3 at Philadelphia, 8:15 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9 vs. New York, 1 p.m. 

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16 at Jacksonville,1 p.m.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. 

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30 vs Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

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