Washington's next four games will determine the fate of their 2020 season

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Washington's next four games will determine their 2020 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

There are a lot of cliches for what Washington needs to do in their next four games. Seriously, pick any of the following: Make some hay, make up some ground, strike while the iron is hot, put the throttle down or whatever else you can think of.

The bottom line is that Washington, who is in the playoff conversation right now, needs to take care of business (look, there's another one!) in their four upcoming matchups to really have a viable voice in that conversation.

Once the Burgundy and Gold returns from their bye, they will face the Giants at home, the Lions in Detroit, the Bengals at home and the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

All together, those four opponents have a record of 7-19-1. The Lions, at 3-3, look like Super Bowl contenders compared to the Giants (1-6), the Bengals (1-5-1) and the Cowboys (2-5). 

To take it a step further, that group of teams also has a weakness that Washington should be able to exploit.

In terms of sacks allowed per game, the Lions rank 19th in the league, the Cowboys sit 24th, the Giants are 25th and the Bengals reside at 31st. Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio's pass rush is in prime position to make all of those rankings worse for each of those respective franchises.

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Now, the easy counter to all of this is to point out that Washington, too, is a bottom-tier bunch, and there's really no pushing back on that. They're only able to discuss the postseason because they're fortunate enough to occupy a spot in the sport's worst division (possibly ever).

Much like they're looking forward to their dates with the above squads, those above squads are thinking the same way.

However, Washington doesn't need to turn into a juggernaut to emerge from this stretch at, say, 3-1 or, at worst, 2-2. They merely have to be effective enough to top their fellow mediocre-at-best foes. 

Should they find a way to pull that off, then they'll give themselves some room to deal with the following, brutal three-game lineup that consists of run-ins with the Steelers, 49ers and Seahawks. The alternative, meanwhile, is that they fail to succeed in this soft portion of the calendar and then likely totally fade from there.

So, yeah, Washington should rest up over the bye and come back prepared to string together some victories (there's one more for you). The playoffs, which still feel like a complete longshot, may actually be within reach if they come through and do so.