We’re just three games into the season, and the Washington Football Team hasn’t come close to meeting expectations.
Despite turning in a largely unwatchable brand of football, however, they have a chance to get back to .500 this Sunday against a lousy Atlanta Falcons side.
We wouldn’t normally peg a Week 3 road game against a 1-2 squad as a must-win — especially since the season is 17 games long now — but if you look at Washington’s upcoming schedule, they simply cannot drop the ball this weekend.
After Week 4, the Football Team will hit the gauntlet portion of their schedule, as they’ll play the Saints, Chiefs, Packers, Broncos, Buccaneers, Panthers and Seahawks. Seriously, how many wins can you predict during that stretch?
Not many, that’s for sure. That’s make Sunday’s showdown in Atlanta all the more important for Washington, so let’s highlight three things Ron Rivera’s side must do to walk out of Mercedes Benz Stadium with a W.
3 keys to beating the Falcons in Week 4
3. Contain Calvin Ridley
We hate to beat a dead horse (Washington’s secondary), but they’re a large reason why the Football Team is 1-2.
In each game this season, at least one wide receiver has gone OFF vs Washington. In Week 1, Keenan Allen compiled nine catches for 100 yards. Mike Williams, meanwhile, posted eight catches for 82 yards and a TD.
In Week 2, Sterling Shepard had a field day working the slot, racking up nine receptions for 94 yards. In Week 3, Washington actually did a solid job containing Stefon Diggs (six catches for 64 yards). However, Cole Beasley (11-98) and Emmanuel Sanders (5-94-2) picked up the slack in a big way.
Things will get a little easier for Washington this weekend, but Calvin Ridley is one of the most explosive WRs in the league. The Falcons star has actually gotten off to a slow start following the departure of Julio Jones, but he’s a target machine, tallying 29 targets, which ranks sixth among all wideouts.
At the rate Washington is giving up big plays, fans are probably having nightmares of Ridley breaking loose for a long touchdown. However, if the defense can limit the former No. 26 overall pick to his per game average this season (6.6 catches for 58.3 yards), make no mistake, the Football Team will win this game.