It may be too early in the story of this year's National League to attach any game with the glib status of 'relegation four-pointer', but the atmosphere in Páirc Tailteann tomorrow should be just about as tense as it gets for the second weekend in February.
Failure to win in Navan, where they face Meath in a league game for the first time in 17 years, will leave champions Mayo facing an awkward spring run-in. Albeit one with which they're intimately accustomed.
"What happens if they lose the first two or three is they're forced to play the established guys to get results," notes former Mayo defender, David Heaney, who played in that game in Páirc Tailteann in 2003.
"If Mayo lose Sunday, all of a sudden he'll be rushing Cillian (O'Connor) back. He'll be rushing Colm Boyle back. Kevin McLoughlin too. Aidan O'Shea will have to start.
"And the development that's needed in the younger players is just abandoned. That's the real issue with not getting early league points."
Admittedly, this is not unfamiliar terrain for Mayo. For all their permanency in Division 1, last year was the first time they finished in the top half of the table since 2014.
Contained within that have been a couple of close calls. In 2018, it took a brilliant Kevin McLoughlin point in injury-time in Ballybofey to earn an unlikely draw with Donegal and subsequent safety.
A year before, they required victories over Tyrone and Donegal in their last two games to be certain of continued top-flight status.
In 2016, they lost their first three games - and four of their first five - finishing level on points with Cork, who were relegated to Division 2. The flip side is that, mostly, their league campaigns have been defined by an innate ability to produce stirring wins exactly when required.
High-wire act or economy of effort? "They've made a habit of it," Heaney admits. "But Mayo would usually start the league with half the team and half trying out younger guys. By the end of the league, they're strong and getting momentum. But they've always left it tight."
Given the number of those seasons in which they returned as beaten All-Ireland finalists and the quantity of players travelling from Dublin to train and play during the college year, slow-burning campaigns were probably unavoidable.
"A lot of those lads wouldn't travel down during the week," Heaney explains. "Up until the middle of March anyway. It's very fractured for the first few months."
For Meath, the situation should they lose will be much more bleak. Already, they're anchored to the foot of the Division 1 table with no points, a poor scoring difference (-15) and trips to Killarney and Croke Park to come quickly after the mid-point break.
The mitigation is that currently they're without the firepower of Mickey Newman, Shane Walsh and Donal Lenihan; their first-choice goalkeeper, Andy Colgan, and both of last year's corner-backs, Seamus Lavin and Seamus Gallagher.
But relegation, Heaney reckons, would have a far more traumatic effect on Meath than Mayo.
"I wouldn't see it as a massive hiccup if Mayo got relegated," the Swinford man stresses. "But Meath now need to show progression. Promotion to Division 1 and qualifying for the 'Super 8's, that was progress. But if they don't stay up they'll just fall back into the pack."