The Redskins should enter the season as the NFC East favorites, having won the division with a seven-game winning streak last season. They have one of the NFL’s most dynamic young players and a second-year running back who gained 1,613 yards as a rookie, and their best pass-rusher returns.
But a leap of faith is necessary. Will Robert Griffin III's knee hold up? Kirk Cousins can be a nice quarterback; Griffin is a difference-maker. With receiver Pierre Garcon and tight end Fred Davis both healthy, unlike last season, the passing game could flourish. Dismiss running back Alfred Morris as a zone-read creation only at your peril.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo's absence after Week 2 was noticeable for its impact on others. With him in the lineup, and with Ryan Kerrigan's versatility in this area, the rush is better all over. Nose tackle Barry Cofield appears headed for a big season. But ... the secondary. It was an issue last year and has been one this summer. The defensive backs don’t need to be great, they just can’t be bad.
There are enough underlying issues that could spoil the season. But we’ll stick with 10-6 and, as long as Griffin is healthy, a trip to the NFC Championship Game.
Predicted finish in NFC East: first