The Patriots and Redskins are almost related as the latter originally played in Boston in the 1930s. They have met ten times with Washington holding a 6-4 edge though New England has won their last three meetings. They first faced each other in 1972 when the 3-11 Pats upset the Super Bowl runner-ups 24-23.
Following the upset, the Redskins won the next six meetings from 1978 to 2003 although only two of these victories were decided by more than a touchdown. Their string of victories marked the shift between the statuses of the teams.
When Washington was defeating New England, it was mostly around their best days as a franchise. New England was an also-ran for the most part although they made two Super Bowl appearances. They ended their drought against Washington in 2007, a 52-7 shellacking coinciding with their 16-0 season.
Washington was the superior franchise earlier but it's been clearly New England as of late. And so long as Bill Bellichick and Tom Brady run the show, don't expect the Redskins to beat the Pats.
Washington Redskins Recent History
While the Patriots built a dynasty at the turn of the millennium, Washington devolved. At best, they are a mediocre team who hasn't won a playoff game in a dozen seasons and at worst, they are dysfunctional and one of the worst at spending money.
Call it a curse or not, but the Redskins has seen so many high-profile draft picks and signings bust. From Robert Griffin III to Albert Haynesworth to Josh Norman, it seems like a death knell when a player goes to Washington. They only managed one winning season from 2008 to 2014 but are slowly moving up under head coach Jay Gruden.
The Redskins have been in the playoff race the last few seasons. They are plugging away slowly. And a strong draft in 2018 ensures that they will be another step closer to the playoffs.
New England Patriots Recent History
This franchise needs little introduction. The Patriots have been the NFL's model franchise since the start of the millennium. Since 2001, the start of the Bellichick-Brady era, the Patriots have amassed five Super Bowls in eight appearances, a dozen conference finals, and 15 consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins.
Starting in 2011, the Patriots have either played in the Super Bowl or lost to a team that played in the Super Bowl. Brady hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He posted a QB rating over 100 in the last three seasons including leading the league in passing yards in 2017 and winning his third MVP.
Thanks to the advances of modern medicine, it's realistic to see Brady play until his mid-40s thus extending the Patriots dynasty. Even if they don't win any more Super Bowls, they will be in the picture until "Touchdown Tom" calls it a career.
Washington Redskins Outlook
Time will tell if swapping Cousins for Smith will pay dividends for Washington. But in the meantime, they fixed the most glaring holes on their team. They took stud running back Derrius Guice in the second-round and drafted two talented nose tackles in Da'Ron Payne and Tim Settle.
They also added depth to their linebackers and secondaries. On paper, the Redskins have one of the deepest defences especially in the middle although they lack star power. They still need to shore up the guard spots in their offensive line but they can manage.
This Redskins team won't turn heads and they hardly have any household names. The onus will be on Gruden and the coaching staff to make most of what they have. They are built for the future but this team could fight for a wild card spot as early as this coming season.
New England Patriots Outlook
It's surreal to envision a Patriots team without either Bellichick or Brady. At least a third of NFL fans today probably can't remember what that was like but it was nowhere near as successful as what the Pats are enjoying today.
Many pundits believed the Pats would draft an heir for Brady but they didn't take a quarterback until the seventh round. As smart as Bellichick has been, the Pats didn't have a good offseason. They lost key players and failed to rebuild their failing offensive line and are still without a decent pass rush or reliable linebackers.
They landed Sony Michel, a multi-talented running back. He will add some much-needed complexity to the offence. Brady and Bellichick will make the best out of whatever scraps they have. But there will come a time when the Pats will finally show mortality. And that time is fast approaching.
No Brady, no Gronk, and no Bellichick. It's hard to see how this Pats team wins a game in the early stages of the preseason but they still have some talent in the reserves. Running backs Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel should put on a show even if they won't have reliable blocking support.
The Pats' late-round draftees are mostly defenders and with how lacking it has been, any one of them could see themselves jump up the depth chart if they put on a solid showing. That should be enough motivation to overperform.
But all that is just reaching for reasons. The Redskins have much better depth on offence and defence. They'll get a chance to also showcase their new recruits particularly Guice on offence and Settle on defence. Washington bolstered their linebacker corps three men-deep and will be ready for the Pats' runners.
This game could be a snapshot of how the Pats and Redskins fare a few years from now and if it follows the script, it should be Washington emerging victorious.