Commanders

Ron Rivera: WFT's all-division finish is a 'round robin' tourney

Commanders

Washington's 2021 schedule is fairly normal in many ways — they'll be featured in primetime on a couple of occasions, their bye is right at the midpoint and there are no unreasonable turnarounds or absurd travel asks — but one thing that is quite jarring is how the slate concludes.

After taking on the Giants in Week 2, the Burgundy and Gold don't see another NFC East foe until Week 14. Then they see another in Week 15.

And in Week 16.

And in Week 17.

And in Week 18.

When you add it up, that means Washington will wrap up the regular season with five consecutive rivalry matchups in the division: versus Dallas, at Philadelphia, at Dallas, versus Philadelphia and at New York.

In a recent interview with Julie Donaldson, the team's VP of media and content, head coach Ron Rivera explained how he views that strange finish.

"Once we get around to it, it's going to be all about where the standings [are]," Rivera said. "It's going to be, really, a round robin tournament."

Download and subscribe to the Washington Football Talk Podcast

The vibe for Washington's closing stretch could end up resembling that of a conference tourney in college hoops; they'll look to build up their résumé against non-NFC East opponents through September, October and November, but when December rolls around, it'll be time for them to square off with the programs they're so familiar with in hopes of securing a spot in the postseason. 

 

The drama has the potential to be spectacular, which is something that's already on Rivera's mind.

"It's going to create a lot of interest for our division, for sure," he told Donaldson. "And a lot of viewers, I can tell you that much."

However, despite the bizarre nature of the schedule, Washington's leader will approach that part of the calendar with a very typical attitude. 

"I look at it this way: You want to go undefeated," Rivera said. "For every game you win, that's one less that you have to worry about as a loss. That's how simple I look at it."