The Carolina Panthers are coming off an uplifting finish to a game, something they hope will carry them for weeks to come.
The Washington Redskins are reeling after a lopsided loss, needing to rectify things in a hurry. The teams meet Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.
The Panthers won 33-31 on Graham Gano's 63-yard field goal against the New York Giants. That dramatic outcome has the Panthers fired up for more good things.
"This team is going to keep growing, keep building, and the fact that we had this type of game was good for our morale going forward," quarterback Cam Newton said. "We still need to build that type of steam of how to win football games."
While the Redskins are dogged by injuries on a short week, it could be getting even better for the Panthers (3-1).
They have linebacker Thomas Davis back from a four-game, season-opening suspension and he's expected to be in a starting role.
"He has got a different energy level than most players," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said of Davis. "It's above the norm, even in practice."
A 43-19 road loss Monday night at New Orleans means the Redskins have a shorter period of preparation for the Carolina game. It also put the team in a rather rotten mood.
"I think everybody in that locker room hopefully will say they need to play better," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
Washington (2-2) plays three of its next four games at home. Gruden said the Redskins, despite their most recent performance, don't need to view the situation as doom and gloom.
"There's a bright outlook," he said. "We're still right there. We have to get some things fixed. ... We're still in the thick of things and we will be for a while. "
Gruden said quarterback Alex Smith needs to be more comfortable in the pocket and that stems from what's going on around him. It might also be a byproduct of what happens when the Redskins have faced deficits.
"We have not been very good when we've gotten behind," Gruden said.
The Panthers have the top rushing attack in the NFL with 154 yards per game.
"We're peaking in the right spots, but nothing is going to be given to us," Newton said.
In four games against the Redskins, Newton has thrown for nine touchdowns without an interception.
Newton could have another offensive weapon back with tight end Greg Olsen returning to practice after suffering a broken foot bone in the Sept. 9 opener.
"A lot of it will be based on how I feel," Olsen said of the recovery. "How I feel will guide what I can and can't do."
Carolina expects to have centre Ryan Kalil available after he left late in Sunday's game with a shoulder injury. He was back for practice Wednesday.
The Redskins scrapped a regular practice Wednesday in favour of a walk-through in the adjusted schedule for the week coming off a Monday night game. Running back Adrian Peterson (shoulder) said he plans to try to play through discomfort this week.
The Panthers have won their last five meetings with the Redskins, most recently in 2016. Two of those during this stretch have come on the road under Rivera. This marks only Carolina's second road game of the season, suffering a loss last month at Atlanta in the first one.
The Panthers have already defeated two NFC East Division teams, Dallas and the New York Giants.
(With inputs from agencies.)