For the second consecutive week, the analysts on NFL Network's "NFL Gameday" chose, in unanimous fashion, against the Redskins when making their daily game picks. And for the second week in a row, the Redskins made them look silly for doing so.
Players find motivation in a variety of ways, but for Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger, these predictions on this particular show have provided more than enough bulletin board material for him and the entire defense.
Swearinger has posted about these misguided predictions on consecutive Sundays, exposing the fact that the Redskins are not a team to underestimate. So far, he's been right, and the underdog mentality has benefited a defense that's been eager to prove itself, which it did in front of a national audience during the team's 27-10 victory over the Raiders.
"We knew nobody gave us a chance," Swearinger said, "I got to Tweet it out again – NFL Network – taking Oakland five times, just like they did [Los Angeles] last week. They don't respect us – I told the boys, you got to earn your respect in this league and we didn't earn our respect tonight, we will continue to fight until we get our respect."
In a broad perspective, it seems unreasonable to worry about what the same group of media pundits have to say about the Redskins. But then again, look at the way the Redskins defense has played in their last two matchups – specifically its dominating performance against Oakland, holding them to just 128 total yards. Swearinger's organization of meetings and vocal huddles have made this group play inspired football. Whatever inspiration is guiding him deserves some kind of validation.
"I said nobody's going to give us a chance to win," Swearinger said. "The NFL wants the Oakland Raiders to come in Washington and beat up on the Washington Redskins and as a defense we're not going to let that happen. Regardless of what the offense and special teams do, we control the game, if they don't score, they don't win and whichever – the offense, how many yards they put up tonight, rushing yards, passing yards, I mean, I think our defense stood up and really made a statement on the number one offense in the league."
Swearinger said that the meetings the defense had last week will become weekly – a way to refocus to start the practice week and find new sources of motivation. "We have two meetings a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, so we are going to keep the chemistry up, keep everybody moving, keep getting better," he said.
And so, after such a dominating performance, the nickname Swearinger instituted for the defensive backs group, "Flight Marshals," gained more relevance.
"We control everything in air," Swearinger said. "Like we say, we are going to get on this flight, it's going to be a long flight, we are going to keep everyone in their seatbelts, we are going to keep the red light on. So, the wide receivers, they got to stay in their seatbelt. We are going to keep the red light and I think we kept that red light on tonight. I don't think nobody got up for water."
The Chiefs will try to next week. It's possible that the "NFL Gameday" hosts choose Kansas City in unanimous fashion again after their impressive 3-0 start, and with them playing at home Monday night in front of their faithful.
Swearinger might not like it, but after the past two results, it might be just what the defense needs again.