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It's official - the Commanders are the worst team in the NFL

1-4 puts us at the bottom of the standings

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the Houston Texans’ win over the Jaguars yesterday, there are no winless teams left in the NFL’s 2022 season.

The Washington Commanders belong to an undistinguished group of four teams with 1-4 records.

One of those teams — the Detroit Lions — can count its sole win of the season as the Week 2 victory over the Commanders, which elevates them above the smaller group that includes just Carolina and Pittsburgh who are vying with Washington for the wooden spoon that identifies the “worst team in the NFL”.

It’s not a pretty place to be in mid-October.

Amazingly, despite being positioned at the bottom of the league standings, per Draft Kings, Washington has opened as a 1-point favorite on the road in Week 6, while Pittsburgh (+8) and Carolina (+9.5) are both heavy underdogs.

Of course it helps that the Commanders are taking on the Bears, with their 31st ranked offense, while the Steelers and Panthers, who are each among the 5 lowest ranked offenses in the NFL after 5 weeks, are taking on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers and the defending Super Bowl champion LA Rams, respectively. Honestly, neither of those two teams is probably worthy of the respect they are still getting after fairly rocky starts (the Bucs are 3-2, while the Rams are 2-3 and have the 26th ranked offense), but both are worthy of the favorite status that the bookies have bestowed for this week, at least.

Washington needs the win in Week 6 if there is to be any hope of keeping the 2022 season alive. Suddenly, the NFC East (outside of the Commanders) looks like the best division in pro football.

With the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants all winning again in Week 5, the NFC BEast is roaring, with 11 non-division wins among the 4 teams — two more than the next closest division, the AFC East. With all three of Washington’s division rivals off to 1980s-like starts to the season, Washington is teetering on the edge of irrelevance with three weeks to go before Halloween.

Washington plays the first game of Week 6 — on Thursday Night Football at Soldier Field in Chicago — in what must be a broadcaster’s nightmare — a prime time game featuring the last place team in the NFC East against the 3rd place team in the NFC North.

The good news for Commanders and Bears fans is that the game is likely to be more exciting than last week’s horror show that featured the Colts beating the Broncos in Denver in a game that had 7 field goals and no touchdowns.

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Bears and Commanders fans being interested in what will take place on Thursday night. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if the fans of the two teams were dreading what might unfold. The viewership is likely to comprise the fans of rival NFC East & North teams tuning in for chuckles.

The rest of the NFC East slate in Week 6 is a “good new - bad news” story. The Eagles are hosting Dallas, so the good news is that, barring a tie, one of the two teams is certain to lose. The bad news, of course, is that the other is certain to win. That would have been more meaningful if the Commanders had beaten the Titans in Week 5. At best, with a win against Chicago, Washington can potentially pull within 2 games of the Cowboys and the Giants (who are 5-point home underdogs to the Baltimore Ravens).

Statistically, the Commanders rankings don’t paint as grim a picture as their 1-4 record:

  • 19th in offensive yards; 26th in points per game.
  • 18th in defensive yards surrendered, and 28th in points allowed.

But games are not decided on yards, and as Bill Parcells was known to say, “You are what your record says you are”. Washington’s record says that the team is among the three worst in the NFL today.

This past Sunday afternoon, when the Washington offense had the ball at the Titans 2-yard line with 00:19 on the clock and trailing 21-17 on the scoreboard, I felt confident that the Commanders would push the ball into the end zone for a touchdown that could possibly signal the turnaround that was so desperately needed. Beating the Titans on Sunday would have cracked open the door to a potential Week 6 outcome where Washington sat just one game out of 2nd place in the division with 11 games to play.

Instead, the three pass plays called by Scott Turner, ending the game with an interception on 3rd & goal to put the game on ice, were an encapsulation of the frustrating decisions and lack of execution that have plagued this team in 2022. The failure to gain those two yards eliminated the chance for a victory; instead, it sealed Washington’s 4th straight loss and gave the team a mighty shove towards practical irrelevance with 12 games remaining to play in the regular season.

Winning on Thursday night in Chicago would be a baby step towards flipping the script on the season, but with the loss to the Titans, Washington has fallen to the very bottom of the heap, and it is a long unlikely climb to the top (or, truth be told, even to the middle).

The lights should be flashing, the sirens blaring. Whether Ron Rivera wants to say it out loud or not, this is what Code Red feels like.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to hit the panic button.