I’ll be honest with you; I was expecting fan confidence to collapse to single-digits this week following the loss to the Packers that dropped the Football Team to 2-5 and into a 3-way tie for 2nd place (or last place) in the NFC East. But that didn’t happen.
Fan confidence rose from 16% a week ago to 23% following the Green Bay game.
Perhaps fans were inspired by the Washington defense looking competent against Aaron Rodgers, or perhaps it was the 400+ yards of total offense and 4 trips to the red zone by the offense (twice inside the five-yard line; once inside of 18 inches!). Perhaps it was the media reports that indicate that the NFL is continuing to successfully avoid making any substantial revelations from the Beth Wilkerson (verbal) report. Or maybe a bunch of fans who no longer believe in the team gave up and stopped responding to the survey.
Whatever the reason, of fans who did respond to the survey, 7% more felt better this week than last.
Taylor Heinicke & Kyle Allen
I mentioned in last week’s article on fan confidence that the question had been kicked around about whether Kyle Allen should be promoted to starter above Taylor Heinicke. We asked the fans through the SB Nation survey this week.
The results were fairly inconclusive, with 51% answering that the team should make the switch to Kyle Allen, leaving 49% with the opposite opinion.
I have a few thoughts here.
First, in July, I went back and watched Kyle Allen’s games from 2020 and compared them to what I’d seen of Taylor Heinicke. When I did that, I wrote that I believed that when Kyle Allen was healthy, he would be ahead of Heinicke on the depth chart. In short, I think he is the better quarterback. That said, I love watching Taylor Heinicke on the field. He’s exciting, even if he hasn’t been able to win many games.
Of course, Washington has played three or four quarterbacks in each of the last two seasons. Switching signal callers mid-season when there is no clear expectation for immediate and obvious improvement extends a trend that no team wants to perpetuate. I can understand the idea of sticking with Taylor as long as he is progressing and seems to be capable of helping the team (eventually) win games. In some ways, his past three games (Saints, Chiefs, Packers) have been a regression, but I think he may be close to finding his groove, such as it is. Let’s hope so, anyway.
Finally, I personally wouldn’t switch from Heinicke to Allen, if I switched at all, until after the Tampa Bay game. In the context of Taylor’s effort against the Buccaneers in January’s wildcard game at FedEx, there seems to be a certain degree of poetic symmetry in letting Taylor take on Tom Brady and the World Champion Bucs one more time to see if he can pull off the David & Goliath fairly-tale style ending that eluded him last time, and which could provide Washington fans with a story to tell their grandkids for a generation to come. That surpasses, in my mind at least, any consideration of using the bye week to facilitate a change at the position, and there’s not much downside that I can see. I imagine Kyle Allen would be perfectly happy to take over the reins in Week 11 against his former Panthers teammates. Is it a ‘revenge’ game if you get traded instead of cut?
The rest of the NFC East
Cowboys fan confidence, interestingly, fell slightly after their bye week, moving from last week’s peak of 88% back to 85%, where it had been a week earlier.
Giants fans saw a huge spike in confidence from 11% to 42% following their hard-fought win against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Eagles fan confidence collapsed to just 5% (from 11% a week earlier) in the wake of their 11-point road loss to the head-coachless Las Vegas Raiders (who, interestingly, are 2-0 sans Gruden, with fan confidence at 94%). Only one NFL team’s fans (the Seahawks at 4%) feel more desolate than Bleeding Green Nation readers at the moment.
Despite identical records, the different journeys of Washington, New York, and Philly fans to arrive at this point have resulted in widely differing feelings from fans.
The entire NFC East is on the road this week
1:00 pm Sunday
- Eagles @ Lions +3.5
4:25 pm Sunday
- Washington @ Denver -3
Sunday Night Football
- Cowboys @ Vikings +2.5
Monday Night Football
- Giants @ Chiefs -10
Personally, I think any of these games can go either way. The Lions are bad, but so are the Eagles. Denver has lost 4 in a row after picking up three easy early-season victories against the Giants, Jags and Jets. The Vikings are better than their record, and the Chiefs are living off reputation right now.
I think the Eagles win, and I’m predicting a Washington victory on the road in Denver (say, 20-17). My “out on a limb” prediction is a Vikings home upset of the Cowboys, with the Giants losing by 11 to the Chiefs on MNF.
Here’s what SB Nation voters across the country predicted:
If you’d like to participate in the survey, you can sign up using the form below. You’ll receive an invitation weekly to complete the survey, which takes just a minute or two.
If the form is not visible or you are unable to complete it here, you can complete the sign up form by following this link instead: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLReacts