Football Outsiders rates Redskins remaining schedule as fourth hardest

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins not only have a tough game Sunday, the rest of the season looks difficult as well. At least according to the Football Outsiders for this Insider's piece, which takes into account more than just the records of a team. And it's one of the five hardest remaining schedules in the NFL.

The Football Outsiders use their defense-adjusted value over average rating to come up with their formula determining who had the hardest, and easiest, schedules.

The Redskins ranked fourth, after Cleveland, Buffalo and Minnesota.

The reasoning: Washington has road games at New England and Carolina, who have a combined 14-0 record. According to the Football Outsiders, an average team would be favored in the majority of the Redskins' final nine games. But they wouldn't have odds of winning of better than 60 percent.

The schedule got tougher, too, with the Saints in the midst of a four-game winning streak. Washington hosts New Orleans after the bye week. Also, playing the final two games on the road (at Philadelphia and Dallas) doesn't help. However, it's debatable what shape either of those teams will be in at that point so those games still could look good or bad. Of course, Dallas should have Tony Romo back for both meetings vs. the Redskins.

They make the point in the article that the Redskins have no slam dunk wins left. Very true -- but the Redskins have won just 10 of their last 39 games so there's no such thing as a slam dunk. It could have been more daunting had Buffalo, another late-season opponent, maintained its early pace.

It'll help Washington that it appears to be getting healthier. But they'll need to get the first three games after the bye -- New England, New Orleans and Carolina -- without much damage so they can focus on a strong final six games.

The easiest schedules remaining, according to this formula? New Orleans, Atlanta and Chicago. The Redskins play two of these three teams down the stretch and already faced Atlanta.