In an NFL season that only spans 16 games, each matchup brings with it a great amount of importance. No games can be taken lightly.
Though it's only Week 3 of the season, the Redskins matchup with the Green Bay Packers could be considered an important mark in the team's young season for multiple reasons. A chance to bounce back after a rough loss to the Indianapolis Colts, pick up a win against a legitimate playoff contender and head into the bye week with a victory.
With the earliest possible bye week in the NFL, the result of this week's game will go a long way in setting the mood during the week off. Though just one game, 1-2 feels a little different than 2-1
"It's an extreme difference," safety D.J. Swearinger Sr. said. "You never want to go in the bye week with a loss, you got to sit on an L for two weeks."
Things also don't get much easier for the Redskins following the bye. The team's stretch of 13 straight games to end the regular season starts with two tough NFC South opponents in the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, followed by NFC East duels with the Cowboys and Giants. Add in the rest of the teams division games, including two against the defending Super Bowl champions, and matchups against the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars and you get a schedule that is anything but easy.
"Definitely, every week is huge for us. Every week with the schedule we have, the NFC East, every game is the biggest game you're ever gonna play," linebacker Mason Foster said. "Because 1-2 games could mean playoffs or not, 1-2 games could mean you lose the NFC East or whatever. We've learned that over the four years I've been here so every game is big for us."
All these components have stressed to the Redskins how meaningful a win in Week 3 would be for the team's momentum.
"You wanna go in, put all your marbles into this week for sure," Swearinger Sr. said. "Cause you wanna have a good bye week, you wanna have some confidence coming out of the bye week cause we got Drew Brees right after that. So it doesn't get any easier from here. So, we gotta put all our eggs in the basket and see where they lay."
At the same time, however, the team understands the season-long perspective of this game. So though 2-1 is better than 1-2 heading into a bye, and the hot takes will always come, a loss does not mean the season is over. The biggest key for the Redskins: treating this game just like any other.
"I mean you definitely don't want to sit on a loss for two weeks, but I feel like every game is important," defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. "So there's not any extra emphasis on this game than a regular game, or the last game or the game before that. So, I mean we go in with the expectation, we want to win every game. So it's the same amount of emphasis and pressure on our end."
Come this weekend, win or lose, the team does understand that the NFL season is a roller coaster, and the best way to succeed is to continue to ride the ups and downs that it provides.
"That's how this league is, you can't get too high, you can't get too low," linebacker Mason Foster said. "Because there's always another game. It's a long season and if you get too high or too low man, it's gonna burn you out."