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With the second half of the NFL season underway, the Washington Football Team has its eyes set on finishing strong and setting a positive tone for the future. Prior to the bye week, Washington was a team struggling to find its identity. Now they’re hoping to establish a better foundation over the next nine games.
“I think we’re still a young football team. We’re still reaching to figure out who we are,” Coach Ron Rivera said. “I do think we’ve got some solid groups. We have some potential for some really good unit stuff. But we’ll see. Again, an identity isn’t something that you just tag and say this is who you are. You’ve got to go out and play. We’ll see what comes out of this as we go forward.”
Rivera is also not ruling out a playoff run. Theoretically, it seems like a long shot but in the struggling NFC East, they may be able to add a few more wins to their 2-5 record. In the division, only the Philadelphia Eagles are ahead at 3-4.
“I told our guys in our meetings today: ‘I don’t care if we’re 8-8 and getting into the playoffs. You’ve just got to be invited to the dance, and then we’ll see what happens,” Rivera continued.
“I’ve made it to the playoffs at 7-8-1 and people said we didn’t deserve to be there and we turn around and win our first playoff game and go on the road and scare the heck out of a good team. It doesn’t matter. However you can get in, get in.”
Before they can focus on the postseason, Washington has to start by getting past the New York Giants this Sunday. In their last meeting, Kyle Allen was responsible for two costly turnovers that proved to be a factor in the loss. The defense also had trouble pressuring Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones.
“Obviously, we always are stressing turnovers. Look, what we recognize is he’s [Daniel Jones] got the ability to make all the throws,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “He’s got the ability to run the football as well, which we saw in the first game. We’re preparing accordingly. We recognize the talent level and the skill level.”
Washington will also have to be prepared for the fact that the Giants are coming off a disappointing loss where they were a two-point conversion away from beating Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Although they came up short, that gives them confidence as they head to FedEx Field to play the team that has given them their only win of the season. Even with that confidence, the Giants aren’t taking it for granted.
“I don’t expect to see the same team. They’ve been playing at a very explosive level,” Giants’ head coach Joe Judge explained. We can’t go in and just think it’s going to be the same game. Obviously, it’s the same uniforms, but they’re going to make adjustments. We have to make adjustments as well.”
If Washington can learn from their previous mistakes, they have a good chance of coming off the bye week with a win. With fans being welcomed into the stands for the first time this year, they have the opportunity to possibly witness the team’s first home game win against the Giants since 2017.
“We’re excited to get fans back out there,” quarterback Kyle Allen said. “Its been an eerie feeling scoring touchdowns and no one saying anything and it being completely quiet. We’ve had to bring our own energy. It’ll be exciting to get at least a couple people out there to help us get a win on Sunday.”
A victory over the Giants will be the first step towards finishing the season on a high note.