7-9, 3rd NFC East
Can Adrian Peterson Be Productive? - Darrius Guice will miss his rookie season, and Chris Thompson has admitted to not being 100% till later in the year, although he still will play. Washington signed Adrian Peterson, and yes this is still a thing going on in 2018. Peterson has bounced around from New Orleans to Arizona, failing to make any real noise. It is hard to imagine Peterson gaining any real traction in Washington, although the offensive line is better than Arizona. Peterson merely needs to be average at best to even call this signing a success, and it has been a while since we have seen that.
Does Washington Have A Sneaky Good Offensive Line? - There is something about the NFC East and their ability to build an offensive line. Both Philadelphia and Dallas are within the top three, but Washington is actually one of the better lines in football. Trent Williams is a terrific lineman when healthy, while Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff have been above average at their positions. With now a subpar running game, the line could make them look better than advertised. Alex Smith will also jump into a pretty good situation with the Chiefs offensive line ranked much lower. This will be a bright spot for the Redskins if everybody can stay healthy.
Is Washington Better With Alex Smith? - This is a question that many will lean the other way on with Kirk Cousins being the previous quarterback. Cousins was not a turnover machine, but he wasn’t the safety option that Alex Smith is today. Smith also has more mobility with his legs, giving Washington another dynamic when needed. Smith could change the role of this offense, making them a little bit more in control, which helps their defense. Maybe better isn’t the word, but this offensive identity is going to change and that might not be a bad thing for a team that has failed to make any noise over the last few seasons.
Can Any Receiver Breakout? - The Washington Redskins have a very undersized receiving core, with Paul Richardson joining from Seattle. Josh Doctson is their biggest target, but has battled injuries throughout his career. The same goes for Richardson, and if any injuries come about, this team will be tested with their depth. They still have Jamison Crowder, who is a viable slot-receiver, but isn’t going to break any games open. If Doctson can remain healthy, then you are looking at him being the primary breakout, and definitely in the touchdown department. A healthy Jordan Reed would help the floors of all these receivers in Washington.
Will The Tough Schedule Break Washington? - Washington is already in a heated division where anyone can beat anyone. They face a Giants team that gets some weapons back, and then the reigning Super Bowl champions twice a year. Outside of the division Washington has a tough schedule. They face New Orleans on the road, as well as Jacksonville. Both were deep playoff teams last year. Indy and Houston both get their franchise quarterbacks back this season, and will be much more competitive. The games against Carolina and Atlanta are both at home which helps, but both will be playoff contenders which does not. Washington should hover around an eight win year.