With Ron Rivera leading a completely new brand of Redskins football and everyone currently mired in a pandemic that has taken away all sports, it's safe to say that all 16 games on the team's 2020 schedule will be very anticipated.
That said, there are a couple of contests where the midweek buildup will hit even harder and a few more pregame beers will be consumed.
Below, you'll find the four marquee matchups on this year's slate for the Burgundy and Gold, the ones that will most excite fans and should draw the most attention.
For the seven of you who still have legit calendars, circle these dates. For the rest of you, just start looking forward to them even more than the rest.
Redskins vs. Eagles, Week 1 — 9/13/20
Choosing the opener may feel like taking the easy way out, but for this season, it fits.
Think about it: For the first time since December 2009, Bruce Allen won't be watching the Redskins from inside the stadium. And for the first time since September 2014, the team's full-time head coach won't be Jay Gruden.
Yet it goes beyond who isn't here. Who is here matters, too.
This will be Chase Young's pro debut. This will be Dwayne Haskins' first start as the quarterback. This will be Terry McLaurin's first chance to build on his sterling rookie campaign. This will be Jack Del Rio's first time running the defense for real. This will be Kendall Fuller's second first trip onto the field for his hometown squad.
Of course, all of those firsts will come under Rivera's first meaningful appearance as the Redskins' leader. His arrival has already changed how so many view the NFC East's longtime loser. And this tilt will mark the true beginning of his era.
Redskins @ Cowboys, Week 12 (Thanksgiving) — 11/26/20
The Redskins have lost in their last four trips to AT&T Stadium, two of which came on Thanksgiving. Despite that ugly recent history, this clash makes the list, because Thanksgiving games will always make a list like this.
There's certainly the hope that the playoffs will be a possibility this late into the schedule, but even if they're not, going into Jerry World with the whole country watching is significant.
The Cowboys figure to be an NFC favorite in 2020 and their offense is stacked. Rivera and Del Rio will want to put their fingerprints on this rivalry by shutting them down on one of the league's showcase days.
Redskins @ 49ers, Week 14 — 12/13/20
Facing a participant from the previous year's Super Bowl is a big deal. But that big deal becomes bigger than a large order of Five Guys fries when one of your franchise's most recognizable players from the past decade now suits up for that Super Bowl participant.
The Redskins have been involved in some really intriguing reunion games recently. Their trip to see Kirk Cousins in Minnesota stands out, as does traveling to Philly with DeSean Jackson and Donovan McNabb on their side. Running into Trent WIlliams in 2020, though, may outpace them all.
The way Williams' Washington career ended soured much of what he did during his tenure, so fans should be feeling a lot of animosity going into this one. Plus, Williams will be forced in part to try and neutralize the Redskins' biggest strength — their pass rush — meaning there could be epic one-on-one battles.
Going up against a left tackle is rarely, if ever, the reason why a meeting in the NFL means so much. This date is the exception to that rule. Start the countdown now.
Redskins vs. Panthers, Week 16 — 12/27/20
Rivera is definitely going to downplay how much squaring up with his ex-employer means to him. He's shown in his brief time with the Redskins that he'll take the high road and say the proper things when needed, so expect him to do the same here.
Inside, however, he's going to want to dominate the Panthers. And he's going to make sure his players will have that same desire.
While Rivera will only be in his first season as Washington's coach, he's already acquired a lot of trust and support from those who devote themselves to the organization. Those devotees should return the favor and treat this showdown with the Panthers as seriously as Rivera will.
Just missed the cut: Redskins vs. Ravens, Redskins vs. Seahawks
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