Allow me to make my case that the Redskins finish 9-7, win this division, and lose a home playoff game Wild Card Weekend.
I'll start with the defense. When we started this exercise I thought I'd be cute and run a 4-3. I thought this would give me a deeper talent pool if more teams ran a 3-4. Didn't exactly work that way. But I wanted to put together a solid front four and pair them with a wrecking ball at the WLB, the thinking being if we could get pressure on the QB with the front four, with occasional blitzes from the WLB, we would be successful.
I feel like we accomplished that goal on the defensive side of the ball. I haven't looked at all 31 other teams, but I think my front four is one of the best in our "league." Richardson is a beast, and one of my favorite draft picks. His PFF numbers are great, and his rating against the run is 34.0. PFF rated him poorly in pass rush, but he did have 4 sacks, 5 QB hits and 24 QB pressures this season. That's good, but it would be better on our squad, given the guys he is next too. Fairley on the inside, and Hardy on the outside? You can't double everyone.
At LB, the PFF numbers look bad, but a few things. First, Ryans has played most of his career in a 4-3, but the Eagles shifted to a 3-4 this season. So his PFF numbers should be viewed through that prism. I think back in his natural 4-3 MLB position, with this front in front of him, he'd have a better season. Ogeltree had a tough rookie season by PFF standards. But as a WLB, we're relying on him to use his athleticism to flow to the ball and make plays. Even with the PFF numbers, remember he had 2 sacks, 13 QB hurries and 95 tackles this season. I missed on Hodges, but thankfully Bartu is serviceable at the SLB slot.
The secondary sucks. I can't hide that fact. But what I will say is that given the front four we have, we won't need to play a ton of man/won't need to blitz a lot. We can get pressure with that front without blitzing, so we can play more zone and hide our weaknesses in the back.
Offensively, Flacco looks like a massive wart. I know. But I would argue that with this team around him, he'd have a pretty good year. Remember that his two favorite targets in 2012 were a big physical receiver in Boldin, and a TE safety blanket in Pitta. He lost Boldin in the offseason and Pitta was out with an injury for most of the year. He gets an upgrade at both slots with Jeffery and Davis.
He also has arguably the best LT in the game in Williams. Bleacher Report rated him the best LT in their #NFL1000 rankings. He is a beast. With Cherilus on the other side, we've got two bookend tackles to work with. (I concede that Laddie has the best OL in the division). The interior of the line needs some work, but our stretch and off-tackle packages will be solid.
I feel pretty good about the RB position as well. Bell is a player, and while we only got him for half of the year, he is a keeper. Blount is, well, Blount. In all a serviceable run game, especially behind Williams. And Bell is great out of the backfield. 45 receptions this season for 399 yards, an 8.6 yard average. That will do.
At WR, I have said before that drafting Jeffery was a panic move. I was targeting Corradelle Patterson with that pick and rag took him a few spots before me, and I panicked and took Alshon. Very glad I did. He looked more like the player he was in college this season, and while he is a #2 in Chicago, he's our #1 receiver and a very good one. Big, physical player with fantastic hands. Much like Boldin, he'll bail Flacco out countless times.
Hopkins didn't have a great year by PFF standards. 52 receptions for 802 yards and 2 TDs. I can't argue that he would find more space in our offense, since he was playing next to Andre Johnson in Houston. But I can argue that Flacco is an upgrade (if you can believe that) over Schaub et al. Gibson is a decent option in the slot. And Vernon Davis is still an elite TE.
In short, I think this is a solid team. Not spectacular by any stretch, but a solid team that is at or above .500. Maybe a tick better in this division. We'd get the Giants twice, and the Cowboys twice. That's four wins there IMO. (Sorry Myt1, but the lack of a QB is tough). Probably split with Laddie. So that gets us to 5-1. Looking around at the rest of the league, we probably go 4-6 ('Skins played the NFC North and the AFC West last season). That gets us to 9-7, a home playoff game, and bounced right out.