If you go to SI.com’s NFL section, you’ll see an article entitled “SI.COM’s NFL Season Predictions”. Under the heading ‘Coach Who Won’t Be Back in 2010′, Peter King wrote that the Redskins will miss the playoffs and that both Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell will be let go. Ross Tucker asserted that the Redskins have to win a playoff game this year for Zorn to return after the season. Both clearly believe the Redskins will fail to meet Dan Snyder’s expectations.
More often than not, I strongly disagree with Peter King when he writes about the Redskins. Nonetheless, I tend to believe he’s correct in stating that the Skins have to make the playoffs this season for both Zorn and Campbell to stick. I doubt that Tucker’s assessment - ‘the Skins need to win a playoff game for Zorn to keep his job’ – is correct.
I find it amazing that the pundits can’t wait ’till near the mid-point of the season to make these kinds of dire predictions. Sure, there are lots of big name coaches out there which would tempt Dan Snyder. They could all be in the back of Snyder’s mind, or even closer to the front. But clearly, he and Vinny Cerrato have acquired players they believe can make their Head Coach successful. And clearly, they’re not going to determine Zorn’s fate before the games are played.
The question is, are King and Tucker’s predictions based more on their respective expectations of the team’s performance or on their perceptions of Snyder’s mindset. The answer is probably both. Winning sufficiently will take care of Mr. Snyder’s mindset. I believe a playoff appearance will suffice, but a playoff win would greatly increase the likelihood of Campbell receiving a new contract and Zorn fulfilling the third year of his. That said, here is my opponent-by-opponent prediction for the season:
The Skins will effectively split with the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys, though they may be swept by one of those teams and may sweep one of them. They will beat the Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, and Chiefs. They’ll beat either the Falcons or the Panthers, but not both of them. Halfway through the season, their record will be 6 – 2, just as it was last year. Their biggest win will be on the road in the opener against the Giants.
In the second half of the season, the Redskins will beat the Broncos and the Raiders. They may lose to the Saints, and are likely to lose to the Chargers on the road. Their biggest win will be at home against the Cowboys. The Skins will end the season 10 and 6. But, as always, they’ll be weak against the spread.