Away: Arizona Cardinals
Now we’re entering the “it’s a stretch” portion of the must-win games list for Washington in Rivera’s first season. It’s certainly not impossible, since the phrase “Any Given Sunday” exists for good reason, but the Cards have built themselves some momentum after taking Kyler Murray first overall a year ago and then swindling the Houston Texans out of DeAndre Hopkins.
The Cardinals are in need of further defensive changes, but they’ve given Chandler Jones some much needed help rushing the passer with the addition of Jordan Phillips in the middle and Devon Kennard at outside linebacker. Both players set career-highs in sacks leading into free agency and the Cardinals are unlikely to receive mirrored performances, but both players are upgrades at their spots and that’s help enough for now.
If Washington brings back the veteran stars along the offensive line, they’re capable of holding the offense together, but this shredded secondary now has to contend with difficult offenses and that’s exactly what the Cards are leaning on for Kliff Kingsbury. If Washington puts it all together, this is the next level of team they’re going to have to learn how to beat.