"Right now, this is all about Philadelphia," said Head Coach Ron Rivera.
It was just four weeks ago when the Washington Commanders traveled to Lincoln Financial Field for a neck-and-neck NFC East overtime nail-biter that resulted in an Eagles 34-31 overtime win. Today, they face off against the NFC East opponent once again in a vying attempt to add a win to their record and show their capability of growing game to game.
But for the Commanders, it's not about that game. Despite the final score resulting in a divisional loss for Washington, the team's performance showed what the Commanders football team can be when their skills translate to real game time. It left with essential lessons about improving their performance, but they knew they could be walking into anything.
The Commanders have had time to reflect and strategize about their performance.
"I think we played Philadelphia very well last time down the stretch," said Jonathan Allen. "We just didn't make the plays we needed to win in overtime and before that. And before that, and defensively, we can't allow the explosives. We can't let them get the running game going and can't allow Jalen Hurts to scramble. And I think we did a decent job at that last time, but we gotta do better moving forward. "
And after a tough loss to the New York Giants last Sunday, it's never been more important for Washington to clear their mental slate and focus on a new but familiar opponent.
"I try to come to work each and every day with that mentality that there's a lot of football left right now," said Terry McLaurin. "It's not the time for guys to hang their hands or feel sorry for themselves. You just have to continue to focus on what you can control and make the plays that come to you. You've gotta continue to visualize yourself making an impact."
Executing that impact comes down to a combination of factors- strategy, adaptability, and adherence to their ever-so-familiar "do your job" sentiment.
And along with working on parts of their game that have fallen short- they're using their knowledge of Philadelphia as a helpful, though unguiding factor. Whatever advantage the Commanders have over the Eagles, the Eagles also share.
"We know them, they know us, and it's gonna be one of those games," Charles Leno Jr. said. "But we can't wait to play. That's the NFL. You have to be able to compartmentalize it as one loss and just move forward. Every week in this league is a must-win."
The upbeat culture in the locker room is an important, yet slightly surprising, factor for Sunday's game. Being able to set aside those losses and work on the next game is what will give Washington room to improve their 3-4 record with 10 games remaining.
Asserting their dominance in this game will mean a critical balance of learning from week four but hosting a mentally positive space for the team to come together for a win.
"I think it's really about confidence," said Head Coach Ron Rivera. "It's about trying to build on what happened and the opportunities we had- learn from the good, learn from the bad. There were a lot of tough things that went on in that game; right now, from where it stands, we're playing the elite in the NFC. We've gotta prepare and get ready to play our best."
As a team with a losing record, confidence typically isn't the associated emotion going into a 6-1 team. But to some, that's part of the beauty of the league.
"That's the NFL," Leno said. "You have to be able to compartmentalize it as one loss and just move forward. Every week in this league is a must-win."