The Washington Commanders defeated the Atlanta Falcons 19-13 on Sunday, and have now won 6 of their last 7 games. Washington has officially moved into the playoff picture and sits in the 7th spot in the NFC. This amazing run has been fueled by the defense fixing most of their issues, and Brian Robinson’s emergence as a bruising threat on the ground. This is old school, grind it out football, and you love to see it. Ron Rivera wants to add some boot on the neck wins (against opponents that aren’t the Texans), but the team needs some help from the coaches there.
Another win moved them up in most people’s rankings, and their average rose by over two spots. They even cracked the top 10 this week! Washington goes on the road this week to face the New York Giants. They will have their late Week 14 bye, then host the Giants in Week 15. They opened the week as 1 point road favorites, but that line has already shot up to -2.5 for Washington.
That’s six wins in their last seven and they became just the third team in the past decade to rebound from a 1-4 start to get seven wins by Week 12. Sure, they needed a lucky tipped pass to get the job done, but this is simply not a team you want to be playing right now. Last Week: 11
The Commanders find themselves at the bottom of the NFC East standings yet hold a playoff spot. Taylor Heinicke has the offense clicking and Chase Young’s possible return would bolster the defense. Last Week: 13
Taylor Heinicke has proven he deserves the Washington Commanders quarterback job. He led them to their third win in a row and sixth in their past seven games. As the starter, he’s now 5-1 making it even more confusing that they saw him every week in practice but still thought they needed Carson Wentz.
As cool and calm as he is, it was the defense that sealed things for Washington in Week 12. Up by a score of 19-13, Marcus Mariota had moved the Atlanta offense to the Commanders’ two-yard line. He then lost two yards before getting his pass batted in the air by Daron Payne.
The ball was taken away by Kyle Fuller and all Washington had to do was run out the final 58 seconds, which they did. Now at 7-4, they’re alive in the NFC East but the division is the best in football right now, so they’re still tied for last with the Giants. Last Week: 14
Washington plays its next two games against the Giants, matchups that will likely determine which earns a Wild Card spot. Last Week: 14
Last Week: 15
Realistic expectation: Making the postseason.
Washington holds the seventh spot, which is remarkable considering the Commanders were 1-4 after five games this season. It won’t be easy as four of their final five games are against teams with winning records — the New York Giants (7-4) twice, San Francisco (7-4) and Dallas (8-3). The Commanders also play Cleveland (4-7) — Washington is 6-1 vs. teams currently under .500. It’s likely that the Commanders will have to go at least 2-3, so splitting with the Giants and winning one other game, especially vs. an NFC opponent for tiebreaker purposes. Three wins in five games? Book the postseason. — John Keim Last Week: 13
The Commanders need more attention for what they’re doing defensively after their early-season mess. They’ve adjusted well and are making big plays on the ball with better situational football. The offense keeps getting just enough from Taylor Heinicke and his diverse weapons. Last Week: 14
The Washington Commanders are a kaleidoscope. Look at them one way and you see a 7-5 team that has won six of its last seven games. Of course, the other view points toward an offense averaging under 21 points per game during that stretch. Considering Washington sandwiches a bye between two matchups against the Giants, eight wins before mid-December is plausible. Last Week: 15
A 1-4 skid to open the season, followed by a 6-1 stretch to follow it up. What a roller coaster ride. True, some of this stuff — like an end-zone interception in crunch time — is hard to replicate. But you can see this team growing in confidence. Back-to-back games against the Giants, sandwiched around a bye week, will be fun to watch. Last Week: 15
Think of where Washington would be if they rolled with Taylor Heinicke to start the season and didn’t trade for Carson Wentz. Nevertheless Washington is the third-hottest team in a highly competitive NFC East. Both Philadelphia and Dallas would have to suffer monumental collapses on top of Washington doing their job in order to secure the division title. Nevertheless they can still stack wins in December and be a formidable wild-card team. Last Week: 13
The qualifications for the Comeback Player of the Year are nebulous to start with, so let’s dispense with any overthinking and give the damn award to Brian Robinson Jr. The rookie running back was shot twice in the leg during an attempted robbery, made it back to the field in October, and by the end of November looks like the physical difference-maker Washington thought it was getting when they made him a third-round pick last April. On Sunday, Robinson registered his first 100-yard rushing performance and added a receiving touchdown in a dramatic win over the Falcons. Pairing this version of Robinson with a bruising Washington defense constitutes a roadmap to more wins for the surging Commanders. Last Week: 16
Good news: The Commanders have won six of their last seven. They’ve held opponents to 15.4 points per game in those seven games.
Bad news: They’re still in last place in the NFC East. Last Week: 15
Where there’s a will, there’s a Washington.
After surviving against the Atlanta Falcons in the nation’s capital, the Commanders have done more than just win six of their last seven games. They’re now two games above .500 for the first time since 2018. The Commanders are also a half-game up on the Seattle Seahawks for the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC.
As has been the case so many times during this winning streak, there was a different hero in Sunday’s win. In Week 12, it was rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who logged 18 carries for a career-high 105 yards.
After the victory, Robinson credited the players in front of him for opening rushing lanes.
“Today was a good day on the ground,” Robinson said. “Probably because of the wet ball, we handed the ball off a lot more. I felt like the offensive line did a great job getting movement up front, moving on to the second level and just allowing me to get up on ‘backers and finish.”
However, Sobleski believes the young bruiser deserves some credit, too.
“The Commanders have quietly become ultra-competitive on the field,” he said. “Even though they’re still in last place in the loaded NFC East, a postseason berth is very much in play. Robinson’s emergence as the lead back has been particularly gratifying considering he was shot twice in the leg during an attempted robbery in August.” Last Week: 16
Don’t look now, but they would be in the playoffs if they started today. They’ve ripped off three straight victories behind their defense and running game. Last Week: 18
Washington’s defense has suddenly become awesome, while the running game has improved. The Redskins also have some talented receivers. They would be a legitimate Super Bowl contender if they just had stronger quarterback play, but Taylor Heinicke continues to loft miserable floaters that are begging to be intercepted. Sadly, this is still better than what Washington was getting out of Carson Wentz. Last Week: 13
Last Week: 16
It’s very Washington Football Team that it’s tied for the best record in the league over the last seven weeks (6-1) and all anyone wants to talk about is Brian Robinson’s big hat and another underwhelming Sean Taylor tribute. Four of those six wins have been by six points or fewer, so there’s some luck involved, like there was Sunday when Marcus Mariota threw a costly interception from the 4-yard line when the Falcons were on the verge of potentially taking the lead with a minute to go. With all four NFC East teams currently in the playoffs, Sunday’s game against a Giants team going in the other direction looms large. Like the hats. Last Week: 16
If the season ended today, all four NFC East teams would be in the playoffs. For weeks, we knew the Giants were a team that was fortunate to have its record. They’ve been joined in that group by Washington, which is battling hard and is well-coached, but it’s hard to buy them as a strong playoff team. But any playoff spot would make it a great season for Washington. Last Week: 15
Washington’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles was impressive. It was closer than the final score suggests, but impressive nonetheless. Other than that, they’ve played in a ton of slugfests, and their defense is helping make that a sustainable course of action.
After struggling early in the season, Washington’s defense continues creeping closer to the top 10 in efficiency. The Commanders’ offense isn’t great, but it seems to consistently do just enough to get the job done.
With consecutive games coming up against the Giants, the Commanders have a huge opportunity to take a chunk out of New York’s playoff contention while practically guaranteeing their own. Last Week: 16
A late fourth-quarter interception saved the Commanders and helped them stay afloat in the Wild Card race. The NFC East has all of its teams above .500, an astounding fact knowing how bad this division was last year. Last Week: 16
The schedule takes a very sharp turn, starting now. Last Week: 15
Last Week: 14
The Commanders are 6-1 in their last seven games, including five wins with QB Taylor Heinicke as the starter. But while Heinicke has provided a much-needed spark since replacing Carson Wentz, it’s been the defense that has truly led the way for Washington recently. Since Week 6, the Commanders rank second in offensive points allowed per game (14.4) and first in turnovers forced with 13. Adding Chase Young back from injury will only raise the ceiling for Washington’s defense as they look to secure a playoff berth with two games against their division rival Giants over the next three weeks. Last Week: 16
Hopefully Washington never builds a ”memorial” to RB Brian Robinson, but the inspirational rookie did earn his inaugural game ball Sunday after topping the 100-yard rushing plateau for the first time as a pro. Last Week: 16
The Commanders are slowly creeping up the rankings. The speed at which they’re climbing reflects our ultimate skepticism, but the truth is that they are one of the five best teams against both the pass and the run at this moment. That’s hard to beat. Last Week: 19
Washington’s ground attack has become steady and effective, and they now rank second in DVOA rush defense. Chase Young has a chance to make his season debut in Week 13 when the Commanders take on the Giants. Last Week: 20
Where should the Washington Commanders be ranked after 12 weeks?
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