Ron Rivera plans to use WFT's schedule challenges as fuel originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Compared to their opponents, the Washington Football Team faces an inordinate amount of difficulty in their remaining schedule.
It's not conspiracy talk, it's just fact.
In last week's win over Las Vegas, Washington had to fly to the West Coast after playing Monday night. Long flight on a short week, something in general the NFL tries to avoid. Still, it happened. Not only that, but the Raiders were coming off an extended break as they had played the previous Thursday on Thanksgiving.
Keeping score, Washington had five days between games. Vegas had nine.
It doesn't end there.
This week Washington faces a major division matchup against the Cowboys. Guess the last time Dallas played? Last Thursday.
When the two squads meet at FedEx Field this Sunday, Washington will have a standard six days between games.
Dallas will have nine.
Surely that's where the impropriety stops.
When Washington faces the Eagles next week on the road, Philadelphia will be coming off its bye week. Seriously.
Washington will be coming off six days rest and the Eagles won't have played a game in two weeks.
Add up the rest days from these three games and the results are staggering - Washington will play three games with 17 days in between.
In that same timeframe their opponents will have played three games with 31 days in between. Not to mention two of the three games are on the road.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera can't help but be aware of the challenge his team faces from the league's schedule makers.
"I focus on it because I use it," Rivera said. "It doesn’t matter what they throw at us, no matter what situation we're put in, we control it."
A motivator in every sense, Rivera intends to use the scheduling irregularities to Washington's advantage.
"If we sit there and worry about it, “Oh my god, it’s unfair, it’s unfair,’ we're going to focus about it's not being fair as opposed to what we have to do," Rivera said. "So I want to make sure the guys understand I don’t care what the situations are. All I care is we get the opportunity to line up and play football."
The numbers, the disparity, speak for themselves, but should somebody look at the one-sidedness of Washington's scheduling with the slightest conspiratorial glint, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a scenario where the NFL wanted to punish Washington for an offseason of front office turmoil, investigations, scandal and embarrassment.
As for Rivera and his players, the focus remains on winning games regardless how they're scheduled.
"I believe they buy into it because they believe in themselves. They know how good they can be and they know this is the start of it."