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NFL Power Rankings: A winning streak and a new QB moves Washington higher this week

New QB and a primetime win shifts some of the rankings

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Green Bay Packers v Washington Commanders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders won their primetime debut against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, but lost their starting QB due to a fractured finger. Carson Wentz is expected to miss at least a month after having successful surgery to the ring finger on his throwing hand. That meant it was Taylor Heinicke time, and he was able to lead the team to a win despite his terrible play in the 1st half. Washington is now 3-4 and heading to Indianapolis to face a Colts team led by Sam Ehlinger.

Washington’s average ranking jumped by over 5 this week, with some sites shooting the team on a two-game win streak up as much as 9 spots. Others want to see more from a Heinicke-led team after watching the team fizzle out at the end of last season.

High: 20

Low: 30

Average: 24.3


Athlon Sports(Fischer)

Taylor Heinicke is unleashed and the Commanders pull off a big upset, coincidence? Last Week: 28

Baltimore Sun(Doon)

Last Week: 29



Washington ranks 24th in the NFL averaging 17.57 offensive points per game. Since Week 3, that number drops to 13.60 per game. The Commanders were supposed to be energized this season with quarterback Carson Wentz and a healthy — and upgraded — set of receivers. Instead, it’s been a key reason why they are only 3-4, despite having won two in a row. Injuries and an infective interior offensive line have played a part, but there’s no way they anticipated this level of struggle on offense. If the Commanders want to keep building on their win streak it has to become more consistent on offense. — John Keim Last Week: 28

Sporting News(Iyer)

The Commanders had to go to Taylor Heinicke with Carson Wentz shelved and were immediately sparked toward a victory with all the healthy offensive skill players being maximized. The big story was finally a respectable performance by the pass defense vs. Rodgers. Last Week: 28

Houston Chronicle(Criswell)

An injury to Carson Wentz has thrust Taylor Heinicke into the spotlight behind center, and he got off to a solid start in a 23-21 win over Green Bay. Unfortunately for the Commanders, they trail three NFC East teams with a combined record of 17-3.

Clutch Points(Flojo)

As bad as things have been on and off the field for Washington, they are miraculously at 3-4 and just defeated Aaron Rodgers with backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Again, this season has been weird.


The Score

Scariest trend: The Commanders’ offense has struggled this season, especially early in games. They’ve averaged just 6.3 points in the first half of contests, the second-worst mark. Perhaps Washington’s offense can find its groove faster with Taylor Heinicke now under center for the injured Carson Wentz. Last Week: 30


Washington has won two straight and suddenly has some life heading into Week 8. Still, the offense is inconsistent. Last Week: 29


They’re 2-0 since “Sell the Team” became the new official chant. Last Week: 27

New York Post(Dunleavy)

Last Week: 28


Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

Will Taylor Heinicke keep starting when Carson Wentz is healthy? Maybe. But then why did the Commanders send a 2022 second-round pick, 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 third-round pick to the Colts (they did get back a second- and seventh-rounder) and pay all of the $28 million Wentz was owed this season? It’s not like they didn’t know Wentz’s flaws, or know what they had in Heinicke. Starting Heinicke when Wentz returns might be the right move, but it would also be an admission that the Wentz trade itself was every bit the fiasco everyone thought it was when it was made. Last Week: 29

USA Today(Davis)

You’d love to give some credit to a team that’s strung together a pair of wins. It’s just so hard when the primary plot is the viability of disgraced Washington owner Dan Snyder at a time when his wife is still tossing around the “R” word. Last Week: 29

The 33rd Team(Domowitch)

Good news: With Taylor Heinicke starting for the injured Carson Wentz, Washington ran the ball a season-high 38 times and put up its highest point total since Week 2.

Bad news:Their defense has just four takeaways. Last Week: 27

Bleacher Report

So, as it turns out, all the Washington Commanders needed to do to turn things around was bench Carson Wentz.

It’s hardly all Wentz’s fault that the Commanders pitched and lurched their way to a 2-4 start. But there’s also no denying that with Wentz sitting out due to injury, Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders played their best game of the season Sunday against the Packers. Offensively, Heinicke did a better job of avoiding mistakes than Wentz has most of the season, and Washington piled up 166 yards on the ground. Defensively, the Commanders allowed just 232 yards of offense.

Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin lauded Heinicke for adding a sense of urgency to the offense while speaking to reporters after the game.

“He plays like it’s his last game every single time,” McLaurin said. “That energy just spreads throughout this team. You just want to be able to make that play to elevate him.”

Coupled with last week’s victory over the Chicago Bears, the Commanders have peeled off consecutive victories to get back to within a game of .500. And while Washington may not be a good team, the Commanders deserve some credit for keeping their season on the rails. Last Week: 29



The best part of Sunday’s game was the fans at FedEx Field chanting “Sell the Team” at Daniel Snyder. Unfortunately for those still loyal to the Washington Commanders – a commitment that is only rewarded with more pain – one of the most powerful NFL owners is still backing Snyder and that means his removal in the near future is just as likely as a voluntary sale of the franchise. Last Week: 30


Fox Sports(Helman)

Consider this: Taylor Heinicke led four drives in the second half against Green Bay. On three of those possessions, he drove the Commanders 60+ yards for points. On the fourth, he converted a huge 3rd-and-9 that helped Washington burn 90 crucial seconds off the clock. Maybe Heinicke can have a Cooper Rush-like effect in Washington. Last Week: 29


The Ringer(Gayle)

After getting off to a slow start that included an ugly pick-six to Packers LB De’Vondre Campbell, Washington QB Taylor Heinicke put together a resurgent second half to captain a comeback over the Packers. Heinicke, making his first start of the season in place of an injured Carson Wentz, took just one sack and completed 13 of 16 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in the second half against Green Bay. Only Patrick Mahomes was better in the second half of a Week 7 game, as measured by EPA per dropback in the third and fourth quarters (0.62). If Heinicke can carry such momentum into future starts across all four quarters, he’ll likely keep Wentz sidelined even when he returns from IR. Last Week: 29


Last Week: 27


The Athletic(Wulf)

Somehow more humiliating for Carson Wentz than last week’s dance over who pushed for his offseason acquisition was head coach Ron Rivera wishing after Sunday’s surprise win over the Packers that he could Frankenstein a quarterback made of the disparate strengths of Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders’ defense is improving, though. It ranks second in the league in success rate, per TruMedia, but is only 16th in defensive DVOA because of a relatively soft offensive schedule and a penchant for surrendering big plays in the passing game. Last Week: 32

The Lines

With Carson Wentz (finger) out, Taylor Heinicke (20-for-33, 201 yards, 2 TD, INT) was serviceable in a win over the free-falling Packers. Sam Howell might be the long-term solution for the Commanders. Last Week: 29


Taylor Heinicke remains a wildly entertaining player who will hopefully play in the NFL as a bridge QB for years to come. Last Week: 30


How about we dole out some deserved love to the eternally overlooked Terry McLaurin? The veteran wide receiver hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to fill up the box score this season, but he stepped up huge in Washington’s 23-21 win over the Packers. McLaurin hauled in Taylor Heinicke’s go-ahead touchdown pass in the third quarter before essentially sealing the game with two massive first-down receptions on the Commanders’ final possession. Consecutive victories have put Washington back in the mix, style points be damned. “You can win pretty; you can win ugly,” coach Ron Rivera said postgame. “If you’re going to win ugly, who cares?” Last Week: 30


Walter Football

It feels like the Redskins are 1-6 as opposed to 3-4, but they’ve crawled back to a near-.500 record. I have to wonder where they’d be if they had started Taylor Heinicke this entire time instead of Carson Wentz. I have to believe they would have prevailed in at least one of the games they lost, primarily the battle against the Titans. The sharps have been betting the Redskins every week. Last Week: 31


Last Week: 30



Last year, podcast co-host Gary Gramling complained about the annoyingly lingering Falcons (who turned into the enjoyably lingering Falcons in 2022, so there is hope). The Commanders, who sit at 3-4, are just good enough to keep them on the radar, even though the quality of win is an absolute slog. They have the talent to compete situationally with some quality opponents, as we saw on Sunday. They may not be going anywhere. Last Week: 31

CBS Sports(Prisco)

They’ve won two straight games to get to 3-4 and stay alive in a tough NFC East. It wasn’t pretty against Green Bay, but it counts. Last Week: 29


Where should the Washington Commanders be ranked after 7 weeks?

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  • 4%
    Top 16
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