This will be the first time that head coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff will face their former team. As we know, Rivera was fired in 2019, after the Panthers lost to the then Redskins 29-21. Washington decided to jump onto the head coach search before their NFC East rivals, who had respectively relieved their head coaches as well.
Rivera was hired and brought essentially all of Carolina's coaching staff to Washington, nicknaming the team as the "Washington Panthers" or the "Carolina Redskins."
Nonetheless, this is a must-win game for Washington, as a win against the Panthers and a New York Giants loss against the Baltimore Ravens guarantees them a wildcard spot in the 2020 playoffs. The most important note is that it is unclear who will start at quarterback this Sunday. Veteran Alex Smith, who had won four of five games as starting quarterback, is questionable. Earlier this week, he stated that he plans to play. However, Haskins has been taking first-team reps this week and could get his second-straight start.
As for Carolina, they have already been knocked out of the playoff. It is simply a determination of what kind of draft position the team would like. Considering the needs of the organization, a higher pick should be considered.
On top of it being a must-win for Washington, it should be a revenge game for Rivera. While he has stated that revenge is not on the line and it is simply about winning for the playoffs, there certainly must be an urge to have a bit of revenge. Nonetheless, it should be an interesting game considering both sides have new coaching staffs and schemes.
Carolina Panthers at Washington TV schedule
What time is Panthers at Washington game on Sunday?
4:05 p.m. EST
What channel is Panthers at Washington game on Sunday?
Carolina Panthers at Washington coverage map
How to watch Panthers at Washington
Carolina Panthers at Washington Prediction
Washington's defense has been one of the biggest reasons for the success the team has been having, outside of the offensive leadership by Alex Smith. Considering the defenses Carolina has faced this season, it will likely be one of the toughest they will be facing.
As for the offense, if Smith is back under center, it could prove to be the reason for a win on Sunday. While Haskins was able to manage late into the game against the Seattle Seahawks, it was not enough. The organization knows this is a pivotal game toward a postseason move and will do anything to win on Sunday.
Prediction: Washington 20, Panthers 17Published 27 Dec 2020, 12:11 IST