Washington heads into the bye week three games under .500. That is an ugly record seven games into the season, but fortunately for them, the NFC East is just as ugly.
Tied for first place in the division win-wise, Washington incredibly still has everything in front of them. Now, it is hard to imagine Washington doing a complete 180 on the season after beating down a terrible team, and the expectations of the season should not turn into that of a super bowl run.
However, the team is trying to take advantage of a bad division, so their next four games become both entertaining from a fan standpoint and critical from a team standpoint.
The next four games for Washington are against the New York Giants (home), Detroit Lions (road), Cincinnati Bengals (home), and the Dallas Cowboys (road). The four opponents that Washington faces have combined to win only seven games to date, so I know that makes Head Coach Ron Rivera extremely excited. However, his team must do their part because, after the game against Dallas, Washington's next four opponents have 18 wins combined.
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What is immediately going for Washington right now is the momentum of their last two games. Yes, they lost to the Giants before the Cowboys game, but both Jonathan Allen and Terry McLaurin stated that they had had their best practices of the season the past two weeks. In turn, that translated to the execution on the field. This bye week comes at a good time for the team, as Rivera has finished his last round of chemotherapy, and his team can gear up for the second half of the season with him (hopefully) being all-in again.
The secondary is dealing with a significant loss in safety Landon Collins, who tore his Achilles and is out for the season. So it will be interesting to see how the backups respond in his absence. Alternatively, linebacker Cole Holcomb has returned from his injury absence and significantly impacted the Cowboys game. His awareness, speed, and physicality were an extreme boost for the linebacker position, and one can only hope that his development catapults him into a linebacker that Washington can build around.
The offense, still one of the worse units in the league statistically, showed some semblance of life over the past two weeks, with the Cowboys game being the most effective they were all season. There is no doubt that the defense will need to be the rock of this team. However, quarterback Kyle Allen and company must help them out by continuing to sustain drives and convert on key-down situations.
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Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner faces three defenses who are statistically in the bottom half of the league in their next four games. The opportunity to continue developing and gaining some confidence for himself is also present and very much needed going into the final quarter of the season.
Make no mistake; nobody should take this as an argument for why Washington will make the playoffs or even have a chance to win the rest of their games. However, if Rivera and his team can find a way to win at least three of the next four games, their week 17 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles will likely be the game that decides who represents the NFC East in the postseason.