NFL legend has it that Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry was the first to think of a season as a collection of quarters - a series of four-game-each segments.
Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera, as noted here, has borrowed that same philosophy. And Cynthia Frelund at NFL.com is doing the same, recently using her analytics talents to attempt to pinpoint the toughest four-game stretch for each NFC East team.
According to Frelund's model, the WFT better be prepared to buckle up starting in Week 5. That is when she says the most difficult run begins, and a review of those four games makes her sound about right.
On Oct. 10, the New Orleans Saints come to Washington.
Next on the schedule is Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, in Washington.
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Next up, the WFT is at Green Bay, a tough spot to play - especially assuming Aaron Rodgers remains with the Packers.
And then another challenging spot, at Denver to play the Broncos.
This is, as we often say, "a .500 league.'' So it is probably not shocking to learn that Frelund's data suggests that all of these games are predicted to be toss-ups. The WFT is a 52.1-percent pick to beat the Saints, a 47.1-percent pick to beat the Chiefs, a 48.3-percent pick to win at Green Bay and a 51.9-percent pick to win at Denver.
It's worth noting that the bye week comes next ... and then Tom Brady and the Bucs after the bye ... and then, eventually, the Dallas Cowboys twice in December in the two games that may or may not be the toughest - but that will surely contribute greatly to deciding the NFC East winner.