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Washington's bye is perfectly timed for two reasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Fans have their various takes on which of Washington's games on their recently-unveiled 2021 schedule are the most appealing or most important, but one thing all Burgundy and Gold supporters seem to agree on is that the franchise's bye resides in an ideal spot.
After heading to Denver in Week 8, coach Ron Rivera and his roster get to step away from the field while the majority of the league participates in Week 9 action. In terms of breaks, Washington's is like the third bowl of porridge from Goldilocks and the Three Bears — not too early, not too late, but just right. (Somewhat related: Is porridge any good?)
Yet that's not the only reason why it's such a convenient respite for the group.
The Super Bowl champion Buccaneers will be the ones awaiting Rivera's players when they finish up their bye, as the two sides will square off in a rematch of the entertaining NFC Wild Card showdown that went down at FedEx Field last January. And they're the perfect opponent to encounter at that point.
First off, Chase Young and the rest of Rivera and Jack Del Rio's pass rushers should have plenty of energy for their second go at Tom Brady in a handful of months. The defense as a whole ought to be feeling spry as they try to pressure Brady and also cover his numerous targets.
The bye figures to be crucial for Washington's mental prep, too. Facing the organization that outlasted every other organization in the previous campaign is never an easy task, but if there's an opening for Washington to take them down, it'll be when their staff has had more time than usual to study Tampa Bay's tendencies and personnel.
Lastly — and this angle may sound silly now but it might just be the most crucial — think about how riled up Rivera and everyone else inside of the club's Ashburn headquarters will be to see the Bucs again.
Ahead of his team's trip to visit the then-undefeated and heavily-favored Steelers last year, Rivera had Washington's social media employees construct a hype video that he made sure was sent to his squad as they were gearing up for kickoff. Imagine the type of motivation he can stir up with a whole extra week of lead-up to another meeting with the foe that brought their surprising 2020 to an end.
That will come off as college-y to some, which is fine. Don't completely sleep on it, though, because Washington relied on some college-y tactics versus Pittsburgh — they also took the field in white-on-white uniforms, which hadn't been used in about a decade, because Rivera felt it would add to the special atmosphere — on the way to scoring a legitimately memorable victory.
So, yes, the Week 9 bye is clutch because of where it falls, yet it also matters because of who's looming beyond it. Thanks to the Wild Card result, Washington was always going to be focused for its tilt with Tampa, but this November, when they're coming off a pause, they'll be especially locked in.