With the NFL schedule being released Wednesday night, the Washington Football Football team has a tough schedule ahead. After winning the NFC East, or as many like to call it the “NFC Least”, combined with the moves they have made this offseason, this is an important year for the franchise. Obviously the in-division games count for a lot, and with the last five games of the season, those are very pivotal. But I see a few other games that have a big influence on the team, on and off the field.
Week 1 vs. LA Chargers
The importance of this game has nothing to do with Chase Young, Justin Herbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or anyone on the field. THE FANS! The fanbase has to be the most important thing going into 2021.
From 2006-2017, the WFT ranked outside the top 5 in average attendance every year but 2015 and 2017, when they finished 6th. But those numbers are inflated, because Washington has one of the largest stadiums in the NFL by capacity. By percentage filled, they’ve ranked in the bottom 20 since 2008. This means they have a lot of empty seats in the stadium, but they’ve masked them with the advertising tarps you’ve seen all throughout the pandemic, so the stadiums doesn’t look as empty.
With the team finally having a sense of direction and young star players that they have yet to see, like Chase Young, Curtis Samuel, and Antonio Gibson, maybe they have some buzz to bring fans back into the stadium. With Maryland announcing the ability to hold games at a full capacity for the upcoming season, and there being essentially no fans for the 2020 season, fans might have incentive to come back and cheer on the burgundy and gold.
Week 8 @ Denver Broncos
After coming off back to back games vs Kansas Chiefs and @ Green Bay which they face arguably the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, they will need to end off on a positive note going into the week 9 bye. If they go into the bye on a three game losing streak, will the fans sour on the team again? Coming out of the bye facing a team like Tampa, they need to clump the wins against teams with below average QB play.
Denver has bunch of good WRs, but there is no way you allow either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater beat you with the amount of talent they have on defense. I do not believe Denver have the defense to overcome their ineptitude on offense, so it should be a relatively ‘easy” win for Washington.
Week 10 vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
Throughout the offseason, many people in the NFL said Washington gave Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay their biggest scare of the playoffs last year, and Taylor Heinicke almost beat them in the wild card round.
This is gave Washington fans a false sense of hope, but this game could either be a reality check, or shows that last years game was no fluke and Washington really is taking strides on becoming one of the rising teams in the NFL. They were able to move the ball on offense last year with limited weapons on offense, yet they added more pieces and upgraded in their passing game, so they should give Tampa a run for their money again, right?
Week 12 vs. Seattle Seahawks (MNF)
This will be Washington’s first Monday Night Football game since they were diced up by QB-bust Mitch Trubisky. They are 6-23 since Monday Night Football since 1997, the worst in the NFL. They did not have a single MNF game in 2020, and they have a chance to give themselves more primetime games in the future.
A lot of high ranked people think that the Seattle is one of the best teams in the NFL, and I believe they’re Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and a bunch of underachieving/underwhelming “others”.