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NFL Power Rankings 2021: A huge win moves Washington up, but skepticism remains for the 3-6 team

Washington Power Rankings!

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Football Team entered the season with high hopes and expectations of repeating as the NFC East champions. They went into Sunday’s game with a 2-6 record after having their bye last week. Washington had the upset of the week by defeating Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 9 12 point home underdogs. Washington had the lead the entire game, and forced Brady to watch their final 19 play, 80 yard, 10 minute and 26 second game-sealing TD drive from the sideline while sulking.

The team is still tied for last place in the NFC East with a 3-6 record, but the NFC is wide open right now. Washington finally played a complete game, and showed the potential that fans expected to see in Week 1, not Week 10. This was a great win for the team, but now they must show that they can win two in a row if they want a shot at the playoffs. Washington moved up in this week’s power rankings, but their is still a lot of justified skepticism out there.

High: 22

Low: 27

Average: 25


Bleacher Report

Not a lot has gone right for the Washington Football Team in 2021. The team’s defense has been a massive disappointment, and entering Sunday’s action, Washington had dropped four in a row and five of the last six.

One victory isn’t going to magically fix all that ails it. But taking down the defending Super Bowl champions on Sunday is still easily the high point of its season. It was a game in which Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke outplayed Tom Brady, throwing for 256 yards with a passer rating of 110.4. Washington’s beleaguered defense allowed just 273 yards and forced a pair of turnovers.

However, Washington’s win may have come at a steep price. Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young left the game with a knee injury and did not return, and head coach Ron Rivera admitted to reporters afterward that the fear is Young tore his ACL.

“There’s some concern,” Rivera said. “We’ll have him evaluated tomorrow. Potentially an ACL, but we’re not sure yet.” Sure enough, it was confirmed Monday afternoon that Young’s season is over. That’s the kind of season it has been in the nation’s capital. Even when Washington wins, it loses. Last Week: 29

Athlon Sports(Fischer)

It’s been a slow and steady improvement for the defense but the loss of Chase Young for the season will be felt far beyond next week. Still, holding down the reigning champs like that to notch the win will be a nice confidence boost heading into the Ron Rivera bowl against the Panthers. Last Week: 27



There was a playoff rematch at FedExField when the Buccaneers and Washington Football Team – both off last week – renewed acquaintances. Taylor Heinicke was the starter in that postseason clash and was back again.

He overcame five sacks and connected on 26 of his 32 throws for 256 yards and one touchdown. Nine different players caught passes for Ron Rivera’s team. And Antonio Gibson ran for 64 yards and two TDs on 24 tough carries. Last week: 29

The Ringer(Kelly) - Last Week: 27


Washington Post(Maske)

If only Taylor Heinicke could face the Buccaneers every week, he’d be a top-shelf NFL quarterback. He played well against the Bucs in last season’s playoffs, and he played well again in Sunday’s upset victory. The long drive to seal the triumph was impressive. But Chase Young’s knee injury put a major dent in the celebration. Last Week: 30

Yahoo Sports(Davis)

Their best win of the season, a surprising upset of the Bucs, was diluted by the loss of their best player after DE Chase Young tore his ACL. Welp, should help them rise up the draft board to fix their QB issue if nothing else. Last Week: 28

The Lines

Washington came out of the bye with renewed vigor and jumped in on the upset train that defined Week 10, shutting down Tom Brady and the Bucs en route to a 29-19 home win. However, the WFT lost Chase Young (ACL) for the season and announced Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) won’t return this year. Last Week: 26



Most important remaining game: Sunday at Panthers

Not only is the game against coach Ron Rivera’s former team, it’s also the next game — and when you’re 3-6, that’s always the most important one. But in this case, it’s even more so for another reason: Washington is coming off its most complete win over a good team (Tampa Bay) in a few years. If it wants to crawl back into any sort of wild-card contention or have that win build momentum, then it has to follow that game up with another strong showing — and a victory. — John Keim Last Week: 27


The Washington defense we saw against the Bucs finally looked like the unit we had been waiting to see all year. The Bucs only managed 273 yards and scored their lowest point total of the season (tied with their win against Brady’s old coach). But this performance came too late in the season and also with a season-ending injury to Chase Young.

Pro Football Network

For some odd reason, Taylor Heinicke is a competent NFL QB against the Buccaneers and the Buccaneers alone. Washington wasn’t explosive on Sunday, but they were potent on third down, finishing 11-for-19 on the day. They were also 2-for-2 on fourth down.

The Football Team dominated possession, and a long fourth-quarter touchdown drive sealed the deal. Don’t be fooled; this is still an awful football team. Thanks in part to the loss of Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the production they found won’t be replicable over multiple weeks.

We often see teams play out of their skulls when key players go down. We’ve seen the Saints beat the Buccaneers with Trevor Siemian, and we’ve seen Mike White play like an MVP for a week. Heck, the Cowboys beat the Vikings without Dak Prescott! Maybe that will happen in Washington. Last Week: 27

Sporting News(Iyer)

Washington finally found its defensive groove against the Buccaneers, even though it was dealt the blow of Chase Young’s knee injury. Taylor Heinicke still isn’t a long-term answer, but he might remain the solution in the now even when Ryan Fitzpatrick can return. Credit them for continuing to grind for Ron Rivera. Last Week: 29

Oddshark - Last Week: 25

New York Post - Last Week: 29


This was the version of the Washington Football Team that Ron Rivera believed he was taking into battle in September. The defense picked off two Tom Brady passes and held the high-powered Bucs offense under 300 yards, while the offense closed the game out with one of the most impressive drives by any team this season. Taylor Heinicke led Washington on a stunning 19-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that bled more than 10 minutes in the final quarter and removed any chance of Brady riding in to save the day. It would have been a perfect Sunday if not for the terrible news that star pass rusher Chase Young tore his ACL in the game and must undergo reconstructive knee surgery. Just one of those years. Last week: 28

Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

Washington had a great win on Sunday, but it also included the awful news that Chase Young tore his ACL. Hopefully that doesn’t affect him into next season or beyond, because he’s a future star and a building block for Washington. Last Week: 27

Pro Football Talk(Florio)

If Ron Rivera can will this team to the postseason, he’ll deserve a third coach of the year trophy. Last Week: 29

NumberFire - Last week: 29


CBS Sports(Prisco)

By beating the Bucs, they are still alive in the playoff race. But losing Chase Young is a big blow to their defense - even if he wasn’t playing as well as expected. Last week: 27

Touchdown Wire(Wojton)

The upset of the week: Washington didn’t give an inch to the defending champs, beating the Buccaneers, 29-19. A late drive led by QB Taylor Heinicke was the nail in the coffin. He has a thing for bringing some good games against Tampa. Now he’s got to continue that against other teams. But Washington will have to move forward without DE Chase Young. Last Week: 28


Is Taylor Heinicke becoming the new Eli Manning to Tom Brady? While that is an overreaction, the Washington Football Team desperately needed something to feel good about in a rough 2021 season. Sadly, the good feelings were short-lived since Chase Young tore his ACL. Last Week: 30

Betting Pros

Another nice performance against Tampa Bay, this one ending in a W. Last Week: 28

The Washington Football Team’s current record would “earn” them the 9th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. They are one of 5 teams that have 3 wins. Only one team has 1 win(Houston Texans), and the lowly Detroit Lions are at the top of the pack with 0 wins(but they picked up a tie this week!). Washington still has 8 games to go so there is a lot of season left, but it’s looking like they will have a high pick next year unless Ron Rivera’s magical late season run happens was started with this week’s win against the Buccaneers.


Where should the Washington Football Team rank heading into Week 11?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    (43 votes)
  • 64%
    (251 votes)
  • 24%
    (93 votes)
387 votes total Vote Now


Where will Washington pick in next year’s draft?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (17 votes)
  • 46%
    (185 votes)
  • 34%
    (138 votes)
  • 4%
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    Trade up for a QB
    (25 votes)
  • 3%
    Trade 1st round pick away for a veteran QB
    (14 votes)
396 votes total Vote Now