Robert Griffin III took the nation's capital by storm in 2012, leading the Washington Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2007, and first NFC East division title since 1999.
While running back and fellow rookie Alfred Morris also had a stellar season, it was the first-year quarterback's dynamic presence behind center that sparked this organization.
But RG3 and company can't afford to get off to another sluggish 3-6 start in 2013, as their upcoming regular-season schedule features five matchups against 2012 playoff teams and six meetings against their NFC East foes the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, all of whom will be improved this fall.
With high hopes in D.C. for RG3 and the Redskins next season, Washington looks poised to emerge as a legitimate championship contender in 2013, so long as it can successfully navigate a challenging regular-season schedule.
|2013 Washington Redskins Schedule|
|1||Sept. 9 ||vs. Philadelphia Eagles||7:10 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|2||Sept. 15 ||@ Green Bay Packers||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|3||Sept. 22 ||vs. Detroit Lions||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|4||Sept. 29||@ Oakland Raiders||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|5||Oct. 6||BYE WEEK||N/A||N/A|
|6||Oct. 13||@ Dallas Cowboys||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|7||Oct. 20||vs. Chicago Bears||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|8||Oct. 27||@ Denver Broncos||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. San Diego Chargers||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|10||No. 7||@ Minnesota Vikings||8:25 p.m. ET||NFLN|
|11||Nov. 17||@ Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|12||Nov. 25||vs. San Francisco 49ers||8:40 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|13||Dec. 1||vs. New York Giants||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|14||Dec. 8||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|15||Dec. 15||@ Atlanta Falcons||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22 ||vs. Dallas Cowboys||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|17||Dec. 29 ||@ New York Giants||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
Note: For a complete look at Washington's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
Repeating as NFC East champions in 2013 will be much easier said than done for the Redskins.
Washington will play a relatively easy schedule at home next season, taking on only one 2012 playoff team in Landover. The team will host the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in 2013, but with San Francisco included, the eight home opponents had a combined record of just 55-72-1 one season ago.
Life on the road will be extremely difficult for Washington this coming season, however. The Redskins' eight away opponents in 2013 had a combined record of 72-56 in 2012. Washington's most notable road challenges are games at Atlanta, at Denver and at Green Bay. Each team won at least 11 games a year ago and all three feature elite quarterbacks in Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers respectively.
Playing on the road is tough, but things look even tougher than normal for the Redskins' road schedule this season.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Washington's most pivotal regular-season showdown in 2013 will take place at FedEx Field, where the Redskins will host the explosive Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12 on Monday Night Football.
This matchup with the defending conference champions will serve as an excellent barometer for the 'Skins, and since it's at home, it has added importance for Washington. Keep in mind, only one of the 12 playoff teams in 2012 won fewer than five home games over the course of the regular season.
After winning the division and reaching the postseason last year, Washington's goal will be to win the conference in 2013, and the Redskins will most likely have to go through the Niners in order to do that.
In a matchup featuring two dynamic young quarterbacks, this game should generate plenty of excitement for fans.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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