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Alex Smith will make Redskins fans forget about Kirk Cousins

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.

Look out! The Washington Redskins are for real in 2018. After making many offseason transactions with the biggest being the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, the Redskins are primed for a playoff run.

The Redskins will now have a top-tier quarterback to lead their offense. Smith led his former team the Kansas City Chiefs to an AFC West title last season, and brings plenty of experience to the nation’s capital. Smith will have plenty of weapons too with wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Paul Richardson with tight end Jordan Reed, and running backs Chris Thompson, and Derrius Guice.

Washington suffered from numerous injuries in 2017, but will start 2018 healthy.

First up is a road test at Arizona. The Cardinals will be led by new quarterback Sam Bradford (if he survives preseason). Bradford has had an injury-plagued career (including last season), and at his best finished 7-8 with the Vikings. If he isn’t healthy, rookie Josh Rosen will likely make his first start (bodes well for Washington). Cardinals running back David Johnson is returning from injury and may not be 100% in week one. These variables create the perfect recipe for a Redskins’ win. Redskins 22, Cardinals 21.

The home opener for the Redskins is week two, and their fans should be fired up this season. Their opponent: the Indianapolis Colts will finally have Andrew Luck under center. Luck has been absent from the NFL since the 2016 season, and may show jitters in his first road test. Redskins 23, Colts 20.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers visit Washington in week three. Rodgers is also coming off an injury, and will be without his favorite passing target Jordy Nelson who is now with the Oakland Raiders. The Packers did pick up elite tight end Jimmy Graham, so it will be interesting to see the chemistry between him and Rodgers. However, if it is anything like the chemistry between Rodgers and former tight end Martellus Bennett, the Packers will struggle moving the ball. Redskins 23, Packers 22.

It won’t be until week five when the Redskins play again, as they get the early bye week (too early in my opinion). The extra week to prepare might help the Redskins forget the nightmares of a season ago when the Redskins blew a 31-16 lead with 5:33 left to play in New Orleans. But it still won’t be enough to win in the Superdome on a Monday night. The Saints’ offense is stacked, and the dome can be extremely noisy for opponents, especially on a Monday night. Saints 26, Redskins 20.

Another NFC South foe will challenge the Redskins in week six. The Carolina Panthers visit the Redskins in what will be a fight between two evenly matched teams. The Panthers will no doubt be playoff contenders in 2018 after an 11-5 season. Expect this game to be won on the ground, as the Panthers bring in the league’s fourth-best rushing attack. I am, however, going with the Redskins in this battle, as they will have fresh legs rotating between Guice, Thompson, and Samaje Perine. Redskins 27, Panthers 14.

In week seven the Redskins will have their first NFC East bout with the Dallas Cowboys. Expect an old-fashioned slugfest that will also be won on the ground. I give the Redskins the edge, because Smith and his targets can keep the Cowboys defense honest if they crowd the box. Redskins 23, Cowboys 21.

Week eight will stay in the NFC East as the Redskins head to the Meadowlands. I expect New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning to play well, however, this game will be won late. The Redskins pass rush will finally overcome the Giants poor offensive line late in the game to force a key turnover that will propel the Redskins to victory. Redskins 22, Giants 19.

After a blazing start to the season, Hotlanta will visit Washington, and cool off the Redskins. The Falcons passing attack improved with their first draft pick Calvin Ridley, and when quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t passing to his big receiver Ridley, and Julio Jones, he will hand it off to the speedy Devonta Freeman. The Falcons offense is loaded, and will be too tough to stop for the Redskins. Falcons 28, Redskins 10.

The Redskins will have a chance to regroup in week 10 when they travel to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are already having issues with the three-game suspension of their quarterback Jameis Winston. It’s going to be a long miserable season for Bucs fans, as this game could turn into a laugher. Redskins 17, Buccaneers 3.

A revamped Houston Texans team ventures to Washington in week 11 in what ought to be an exciting football game. The Texans showed many bright spots until young quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. The combination of Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will trouble many defenses in 2018, however, I think Alex Smith lights up the Texans last ranked defense. Redskins 24, Texans 22.

Week 12 is where the early bye week begins to have an effect on the Redskins. The short week leading to a Thanksgiving date with the Cowboys plus travel will have detrimental effects on a tuckered out Redskins team. The Cowboys will beat an exhausted Redskins in a low scoring fight. Cowboys 17, Redskins 14.

The Redskins will get a bit of rest in their next match, but the opponent will be the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and it will be a road Monday night matchup. I think Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will exploit a restless Redskins defense. Eagles 26, Redskins 20.

Some relief will come in the form of the New York Giants in week 14. The Redskins will get a pleasant charge from the home crowd which should energize them with their eyes on a playoff berth. Expect a shootout between Manning and Smith in an NFC East thriller. Redskins 29, Giants 27.

Two tough road tests loom in weeks 15 and 16. The first one will be at Jacksonville where the Redskins will have to get past the league’s No. 2 defense, and No. 1 rushing attack. I don’t see a worn out Redskins team overcoming this challenge. Jaguars 25, Redskins 18.

The next test will be at Tennessee who may be fighting for a playoff spot. A very winnable game for the Redskins, however, Washington will be really feeling the effects of an early bye week this late in the season, especially after two weeks of travel. Titans 24, Redskins 13.

With their playoff hopes on the line, the Redskins will finally catch a break with an unlikely opponent… The Philadelphia Eagles should already have their playoff fate sealed, and likely will be resting starters in Washington. That should boost the Redskins just enough. Redskins 19, Eagles 13.

A nice turnaround season for the Redskins will have them at 10-6, and likely the 5 seed in the playoffs.

This article was originally published on @taviano1027