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NFL Power Rankings 2021: Washington loses again, but continues its climb to the top of the draft order

Washington Power Rankings!

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Washington Football Team v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

The Washington Football Team entered the season with high hopes and expectations of repeating as the NFC East champions. They entered Week 8 with a 2-5 record after losing to the Green Bay Packers 24-10 on the road. On Sunday they visited the Broncos in Denver and lost 17-10.

Washington’s defense continues to play better, but the offense putting up 10 points week after week isn’t going to cut it in the NFL. Special teams continues to be an issue after Chris Blewitt had two more kicks blocked on Sunday.

Washington now enters the bye week in Week 9. The team is 2-6, and most fans are calling for massive changes to the roster, coaching staff, and ownership(as always). Ron Rivera has responded to those calls by reshuffling the bottom of the roster(practice squad) and declaring that he won’t be bringing in any kicking competition during the bye week. This has not been received well by the fans, and it’s going to be a long two weeks until Washington hosts Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a playoff rematch.

High: 25

Low: 28

Average: 26.8


Athlon Sports(Fischer)

As much as the defense has started to look improved over the last few games, the offense has regressed to the point of putridness. Add in the off-field storylines and it’s another dismal year in the nation’s capital for NFL football. Last Week: 19


Ron Rivera’s club had dropped three straight games entering this clash with the Broncos. While Washington won the total yardage battle (342-273), the club also made far too many mistakes.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 270 yards and one touchdown. But he was sacked five times, fumbled twice (zero turnovers) and tossed two interceptions. Rivera’s squad allowed a season-low 17 points but still fell short for the sixth time in eight games. Last week: 23

The Lines

How did Washington end up throwing several Hail Marys while letting Taylor Heinicke take 5 sacks when they were averaging 4.7 YPC against a backloaded Denver defense? The WFT has lost four straight against quality competition, but had a chance to compete in each game with better coaching. Last Week: 24


Washington’s final two drives will be burned in the mind of this fan base until 2022 training camp. Even more painful, Taylor Heinicke practically threw his final pass into the stands when Washington had a chance to tie the game on the final play. To make matters worse, Washington Blewitt with its kicker decision. Last Week: 25

Oddshark - Last Week: 24


Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

Rookie Jaret Patterson ended up with 11 carries in a close game, while Antonio Gibson had just eight. Gibson is dealing with a shin injury and at some point it makes no sense to play him when he isn’t himself. Judging by the coaches’ snap distribution Sunday, they know Gibson isn’t himself either. Just shut him down and let him get healthy. Last Week: 26

Yahoo Sports(Davis)

A hugely disappointing defense has gotten incrementally better ... just in time to coincide with the offense’s inability to score. What The Football? Last Week: 24



Biggest Achilles’ heel: Pass coverage

Washington is tied for 29th in the NFL with seven passing touchdowns of 20 or more yards, and most of those stem from a secondary not in synch with its reads, leading to blown coverages. It ranks 26th in yards allowed per pass attempt and last in the NFL in third-down conversions at 56.5% — a lot of which is the result of opposing quarterbacks having completed 70.6% of their passes vs. Washington on third down. No defense has allowed a worse number. This isn’t just on the secondary, though. The corners have not played as well as anticipated, and the linebackers have blown their share of assignments, too. And the pass rush must be better. — John Keim Last Week: 26

Pro Football Network

Washington’s offense has absolutely no juice. The quarterback is a problem, and once again, both their offense and defense struggled on third down. At some point, this team has to find a spark, and although that spark probably is not Kyle Allen, it certainly doesn’t seem to be Taylor Heinicke.

The defense simply couldn’t get stops in crucial moments. They sacked Teddy Bridgewater 4 times, but they couldn’t stack stops on top of one another. The Broncos’ coverage gaffes were the biggest reason the Football Team still had a chance to tie the game late. Last Week: 27

CBS Sports(Prisco)

The defense finally shows up some and the offense does nothing against Denver. They have to solve the quarterback position going forward. Last week: 27

The Ringer(Kelly) - Last Week: 27

NumberFire - Last week: 27


Washington Post(Maske)

There is simply little positive happening here. The Broncos tried to give away the game, and Washington couldn’t do anything about it. Last Week: 27

New York Post - Last Week: 23

Sporting News(Iyer)

WFT went further into the offensive tank in Denver, despite a second consecutive improved defensive effort. The team desperately needs to get Ryan Fitzpatrick, Logan Thomas, Curtis Samuel, Samuel Cosmi, Brandon Scherff and Antonio Gibson all healthy after the bye. Last Week: 26

Washington is having a bad season — and it’s unlikely to get much better. Sunday brought another uninspired effort in a 17-10 setback to the Broncos, the fourth straight loss for Ron Rivera’s team. The defense has been a huge disappointment in Washington, but the struggles of the offense can’t be overlooked. This is especially so in scoring position: Washington has come away with zero points on 10 of its last 13 trips inside the opponents’ 30-yard line. That includes two interceptions, three blocked field goals and five turnovers on downs. It’s near-impossible inefficiency for a team that was expected to contend for the NFC East title. Last Week: 27

Bleacher Report

It wasn’t supposed to be like this in Washington in 2021.

After winning the NFC East last season, Washington was going to take the next step this year. New quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and one of the league’s best defenses on paper were going to help the team not only get back to the playoffs but also make some noise once there.

Instead, Fitzpatrick got hurt, backup Taylor Heinicke has been mostly awful, and the Washington defense ranks 27th in yards allowed and 26th in points allowed. After dropping a fourth straight game to fall to 2-6 on Sunday, head coach Ron Rivera said that some major changes could be coming after the team’s bye week.

“The big thing we have to figure out, going forward, is where are we? That’s the nice thing about this bye week,” Rivera said postgame. “We’ll get the chance to re-evaluate and take a look at a lot of things, kind of come out next week about where we’re headed. I’m going to evaluate all [22] positions you have.”

Given how the season has gone to date, that may just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Last Week: 27

Touchdown Wire(Wojton)

The Broncos were almost trying to let Washington to win with a late turnover giving the Football Team a late chance. Instead, Washington blew that chance, plus had two field goals blocked. Now the Football Team might consider a QB change from Taylor Heinicke. He has been up-and-down. Last Week: 27

Betting Pros

It somehow gets worse each week. Last Week: 27

Pro Football Talk(Florio)

They have a few winnable games left on the schedule, but not nearly enough. Last Week: 28

Are we ready to start looking at the draft order in Week 9? Why yes, yes we are. The Washington Football Team’s current record would “earn” them the 6th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. They are one of 3 teams that only have 2 wins. Three more teams only have 1 win, and the lowly Lions are at the top of the pack with 0 wins. Washington still has 9 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 again.


Where should the Washington Football Team rank heading into Week 9?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (30 votes)
  • 66%
    (286 votes)
  • 26%
    (116 votes)
432 votes total Vote Now


Where will Washington pick in next year’s draft?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (22 votes)
  • 41%
    (203 votes)
  • 42%
    (206 votes)
  • 6%
    Trade up to get a QB
    (33 votes)
  • 4%
    Trade 1st round pick away to get a veteran QB
    (21 votes)
485 votes total Vote Now