Okay, Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays for the next 17 or so weeks (hopefully more) will now be SkinsBlog, devoted to news, analysis, predictions and commentary about the Redskins and other goings on in the NFL. So let’s get to it:
Opening weekend is here! No more meaningless preseason games. It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. I always love it when you get to open your season at home; a road game for the opener always feels off somehow. The Bears are coming to town, and that gives ‘Skins fans really something to cheer. We couldn’t have a cushier opponent if they were playing a high school team.
That said, the ‘Skins still have the Chicago defense to plow through, and that’s no small obstacle. Brian Urlacher is one of the best linebackers in the biz, and while none of the other members of the Chicago D are quite the household name that he is, they can still prove to be quite a bit of resistence, especially since the Redskins offense, at least in the preseason, was a bit lacking.
Which brings me to the concern of the week: How will Patrick Ramsey perform once the games start counting for something. Admittedly, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the preseason games, but what I did see was less than impressive. Picks and sacks were way too prevalent, and Ramsey once again is being criticized around the local media for waiting far too long to make a decision and actually throw the ball. If he wants to ever succeed in the NFL, he’s going to have to make his own opportunities, because defenses certainly won’t give them to him.
Also, how is he going to adjust to what is practically a whole new receiving corps? Coles is gone, replaced by his former Jets teammate Santana Moss. McCants was axed altogether during the preseason, but added was David Patten, fresh off his third Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. On paper, at least, the receiving squad is the strongest it’s looked in years, but that’s not really saying a whole lot.
The ‘Skins defense promises to have another great season with Gregg Williams at the helm and Lavar Arrington back from his knee injury that kept him out most of last year. Even when defensive players were dropping like flies last season, somehow Williams and his “mad genius” schemes kept the Redskins D the third ranked in the NFL. There is nothing to suggest that the same won’t be true this year, although I’d prefer it if half our starting defense weren’t placed on injured reserved by week 10.
So what do I think tomorrow’s game will hold? Well, with two solid defenses, and a rather pathetic offense from the visiting team, look for a low-scoring defensive grudge match. Redskins 10 – Bears 3
Elsewhere in the NFL:
These are predictions only, with no regard to the spread:
Cincinnati v. Cleveland
Who outside of Ohio really cares? I’ll pick Cleveland just because they’re home.
Denver v. Miami
Houston v. Buffalo
New Orleans v. Carolina
While it would be a nice story if New Orleans wins, they ain’t gonna. Carolina.
NY Jets v. Kansas City
I think I’m going against the grain here. Jets win it, but in a close one.
Seattle v. Jacksonville
Two teams that just bore you to tears. Jacksonville wins, but nobody will be awake to see it.
Tampa Bay v. Minnesota
Quick, name a wide receiver for the Vikings. I can’t either. Tampa Bay.
Arizona v. NY Giants
Every year you just keep hoping that the Kurt Warner who won one Super Bowl and went to another will show up, but he never does. New York wins now that Strahan is back and healthy.
Dallas v. San Diego
The Cinderella team from last year versus the Cinderella team from the year before. San Diego has the momentum on their side; they win.
Green Bay v. Detroit
I really think this is Favre’s last year. His games are really hit or miss these days, but I still will pick them to beat the Lions.
St. Louis v. San Francisco
St. Louis. Next.
Indianapolis v. Baltimore
Old Baltimore versus new Baltimore. Indianapolis wins easily. (P.S. This will be the Colts’ year to make it to the show. As long as they don’t have to go to New England in January.)
Philadelphia v. Atlanta
Oh, this is just too juicy. Have Donovan and T.O. really ended their lovers’ spat? Will Vick literally run circles around the competition? I dunno, and I wish I could watch this one but I’ll be on I-95 during most of the game. My heart (and my head, frankly) says that Atlanta will pull the upset and narrowly beat Philly, avenging their playoff loss from last season.
So there we go, boys and girls, the end of my innagural SkinsBlog. Check back Monday to see what I got right, what I got wrong, and where we go from here.