The newly named Washington Commanders had a 7-10 season in 2021. It was an up-and-down season for Washington that included two four-game losing streaks and one four-game winning streak during the season. After making the playoffs in 2020, it was seen as a step back in 2021 despite the franchise winning seven games each year. Head Coach Ron Rivera has helped turn the franchise around and instill a necessary culture change for the team.
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Washington’s 2022 season will begin at home against the Jaguars, before traveling to Detroit to play the Lions. They then have back-to-back divisional matchups at home against the Eagles and then in Dallas against the Cowboys. They then will return home to face the Titans before a Thursday night matchup in Chicago against the Bears. They will then return home to play the Packers before traveling to Indianapolis for a matchup with the Colts in which eyes are sure to be on Carson Wentz. In Week 9 they will play the Vikings before a Monday night matchup in Philadelphia against their divisional rival Eagles. Their next three games are at the Texans, against the Falcons, and at the New York Giants. The Commanders have a late bye week in Week 14. They play at home against the Giants in Week 15 and in San Francisco against the 49ers the following week. Their final home game will be against the Browns before a Week 18 matchup in Dallas.
The Washington Commanders are +6000 to win the Super Bowl this season, which is the 21st best odds in the NFL. They are +450 to win the NFC East, and their season wins over / under is set at 8 games. Washington is +135 to make the playoffs and -165 to miss it.
Key Players: Carson Wentz, Terry McLaurin
Washington had a relatively disappointing offensive performance in 2021. They ranked 23rd in the NFL in points scored and 21st in total yards. Their running game was solid, ranking 10th in the NFL in attempts and 12th in total yards. The passing game production fell flat with Taylor Heinicke at the helm. While Heinicke has an admirable competitive spirit, he lacks the necessary talent to lead a successful playoff-contending team. The Commanders attempted to upgrade this offseason by trading for Carson Wentz. This will be Wentz’s third team in the past three seasons after quickly wearing out his welcome with the Colts.
Carson Wentz has always possessed the talent but is known for his questionable decisions with the ball. He has a solid crew of weapons around him, led by Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Antonio Gibson. They also spent a first-round pick on WR Jahan Dotson in the past draft. Washington lost TE Ricky Seals-Jones and OG Brandon Scherff this offseason.
Key Players: Chase Young, Kendall Fuller
The Commanders have a dangerous front seven that produced 38 sacks in 2021. They were 29th in passing yards allowed on the 18th most attempts. They had allowed the 8th fewest rushing yards and were 9th in the NFL in yards per attempt last season. Cole Holcomb led the team in tackles with 142. Chase Young was only able to play nine games but showed flashes of the elite defender he is sure to grow into. Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Montez Sweat are set to line up alongside and make his impact in the trenches.
There is still concern with the Commanders’ pass defense as they will head into 2022 with the same secondary unit. Kendall Fuller (27) and William Jackson (30) still have plenty of tread on the tires and are expected to serve as the primary cornerbacks. Kamren Curl also had a solid season in his second in the NFL at safety and leaves room to grow. The 23-year-old started 14 games racking up 99 total tackles, one fumble recovery, and three QB hits.
Whether or not Carson Wentz can back on track is the biggest question surrounding the Commanders’ season outlook. Wentz has flashed the highest of highs and lowest of lows during his six-year career. While the Pro Bowl-caliber player he is capable of being is still in there, it does not seem likely he will return to this in his first season with the Commanders.
The team seems set to take a step forward, but it is unclear how large of a leap they will be capable of. Taking the over 8 wins is a solid bet, but it will be a tight race for the playoffs in the division, so -165 is not a bad price for this. There is also some great value in Dotson over 611.5 receiving yards this season. McLaurin is sure to demand the number one corner on opposing teams, which will open things up for Dotson. The Commanders clearly believe in the first-rounder, and Carson Wentz’s arm will allow an increase in passing production from the passing game this season.
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