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NFL Power Rankings: Washington continues to rise as other teams fall

Washington had a very good bye week

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NFL: Washington Commanders at New York Giants Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders tied the New York Giants two Sundays ago, and now prepare to face them again as they return from their bye week. Washington was in the playoff picture as the 8th spot in the NFC, and rose to the 6th spot after losses by the Giants and Seahawks on Sunday. Washington’s odds of getting into the playoffs with a win this week are 86%, and drop to 28% with a loss.

Last week most power rankers just left Washington where they had the team ranked before the bye. With the team moving up the playoff ladder, and not losing a game since Week 9, they have moved up on several lists. They highest rank is now 7th, and their average ranking actually went up by .8!

High: 7

Low: 16

Average: 12.1


Athlon Sports(Fischer)

Let’s hope the duel with the Giants (Part II) goes a bit better than the first time around given that it’s a (flexed) prime-time game for all to see. Carson Wentz will be active for this one, which is only interesting to see how he deals with holding the clipboard in the foreseeable future. Last Week: 10


New York Post(Dunleavy)

What a meteoric rise. The Commanders were dead last in these rankings after a 1-4 start. But Taylor Heinicke is 5-1-1 since taking over as the starting quarterback and better utilizing the receiver trio of Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson. Chase Young is expected to make his debut coming off the bye week to bolster an already dominant defensive line. Last Week: 11

CBS Sports(Prisco)

They come off their bye with a home game against a Giants team they tied two weeks ago. Win that one, and they will have a great shot to be a playoff team. Last Week: 11


A win over the Giants in Week 15 will all but assure the Commanders of a playoff spot. Last Week: 11

AZ Central(Cluff)

Entered bye week in NFL Week 14 with 7-5-1 record. This team hasn’t lost since Week 9 and faces the Giants for the second straight game. Last Week: 11


Sporting News(Iyer)

The Commanders liked their bye week with the Seahawks and Giants losing to push them to the No. 6 seed and second wild-card position behind the Cowboys. Now they need to play like they want to keep it with Taylor Heinicke. Last Week: 11

NFL Spin Zone(Gurzi)

Since Week 5, the Washington Commanders have lost just one game. That came at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, who have the second-best record in the NFC. And in that loss, the Commanders still held their own, losing 20-17.

That was followed up with a huge win as they became the first team to hand the Philadelphia Eagles a loss on the year.

Having said all that, they enter their bye week following a tie with the New York Giants. There has to be some frustration over this but they get their chance at revenge in Week 15 as they play the same team once again. Last Week: 11

The Score

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Commanders, who are refreshed and ready for the season’s final stretch. Last Week: 9


Washington is off its bye and has the aforementioned enormous tilt with Big Blue. The winner is in good shape. The loser is in anything but. Last Week: 12

Fox Sports(Helman)

The Commanders went into their bye after a tie against the Giants, and now they head out with … the Giants. With Detroit surging and Seattle still hanging around, this is a game they can’t afford to give away. Last Week: 11


Last Week: 11


Bleacher Report

The Washington Commanders have exceeded expectations this season. At 7-5-1, they are in the thick of the wild-card chase in the NFC. After starting the season 1-4, they have lost just once in their late eight games.

Much of the team’s success has been credited to quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who took over under center when Carson Wentz got hurt and held on to the job even once Wentz was healthy. But while speaking with reporters, Heinicke made it clear that the team’s trio of wide receivers (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and rookie Jahan Dotson) have made life easy for him.

“Those guys are huge playmakers, and you continue to see it every week,” Heinicke said, “so the more that I can get them the ball, let them do their thing, the better we’ll be. You see what Curtis does all the time with the ball in his hands. Terry is always getting open and making big plays. So the more you can give them opportunities and get the ball in their hands, I think the better this team is going to be.”

With that said, making the postseason isn’t going to be easy for Washington. Beginning next week against a Giants team Washington tied in Week 13, the stretch run for the Commanders contains three games against teams with winning records—including a home date in Week 18 against the Cowboys that could carry enormous stakes.

“A late bye week couldn’t have been positioned better for the Commanders,” Sobleski said. “Without stepping onto the field, Washington benefited greatly from Sunday’s outcomes. The 7-5-1 squad leapfrogged the fading New York Giants in the NFC East and the overall playoff picture. Ron Rivera’s club won’t catch up with the Philadelphia Eagles or the Dallas Cowboys, but it can do some damage on the bottom end of the bracket. Washington has lost only once in its last eight games. The team now has an identity on offense by riding its new workhorse, Brian Robinson Jr. Plus, the defensive line could receive a significant boost with Chase Young’s return to the lineup at any point before the regular season ends. Their approach may not be pretty, but the Commanders are not a team others want to face at the moment.” Last Week: 14

The 33rd Team(Domowitch)

Good news: Commanders are 6-1-1 since losing four of their first five. Even better, their defense, which finally will be getting Chase Young back this week, has held opponents to 16.0 points per game in the last eight games.

Bad news: Taylor Heinicke has energized the offense, but the Commanders still are 24th in scoring and have scored more than 23 points once since Week 2. Last Week: 13

Touchdown Wire(Lane)

Washington is on a bye. They return with a home date with the New York Giants. Last Week: 16


They’re built to make it to the playoffs, and to make some noise when they get there. Last Week: 12



Offense: 25

Defense: 9

Special teams: 17

It’s not surprising that defense is Washington’s best unit; it ranks among the top 10 in multiple key categories, including third downs (third), yards per game (fourth) and scoring (eighth). Defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne have combined for 36 tackles for loss and 16 sacks. Offensively, the Commanders have issues, ranking 25th or worse in scoring, third downs and yards per play. So, again, no surprise. But special teams is surprising. Punter Tress Way ranks seventh in net punting and first in punts placed inside the 20. The return game, though, has not produced — 15th on kickoffs; 21st on punts — and that drags the Commanders’ ranking down. — John Keim Last Week: 13

The Athletic(Wulf)

Free agent target: Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady

OK, bear with us. Obviously, this is premised on Washington securing new ownership very quickly. Brady has seen too much to consider playing for Daniel Snyder. But if he’s given carte blanche by a nouveau riche regime, this is a roster not entirely dissimilar to the one he joined in Tampa in 2020 with a good group of young receivers and a playoff-caliber defense.

All right, it’s almost definitely not going to happen, but finding the right landing spot for Brady, if he chooses to keep playing and decides to leave Tampa, is tough. Las Vegas seems like the obvious answer given its flirtation with him last time around and the presence of Josh McDaniels, but it’s a little far from family and Davante Adams’ whole thing was wanting to play with Derek Carr. We assume Brady would want a ready-to-win roster, ideally in warm weather or somewhere from which he can travel easily to Florida. Here’s a scientific breakdown of the contenders. Last Week: 13


The Commanders get a massive bye-week boost because their upcoming opponent, the Giants, seem to be in a bit of a deep slide. A win over New York this weekend would make them a virtual lock for the postseason and give us what we had all secretly desired: the entire NFC East in the big dance. Last Week: 17


At a time in the 2022 NFL season when a majority of the teams in the middle are in flux, the Washington Commanders find themselves in a hunt for the playoffs. Taylor Heinicke hasn’t demonstrated he is worth a long-term investment, but this team wins games and rallies around him more than we ever saw with Carson Wentz. Last Week: 11

Pro Football Network(Miller)

For all the FUBAR off-field happenings surrounding the Commanders, the team itself has been incredibly focused on its task. Ron Rivera deserves Coach of the Year consideration for keeping this team relevant, let alone smack dab in the middle of a playoff hunt!

Washington is the only team to beat Philadelphia this season, and their defense has really improved as the season’s progressed. Taylor Heinicke might not be a franchise starter, and he may not even be what we’d consider “good,” but he has the magical moments we thought we might get with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last Week: 14

Walter Football

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.

I think this is the fourth week in a row I’ve had this analysis for the Redskins, but it still holds true. Heinicke gift-wrapped the Giants their only points after halftime with a lost fumble on a strip-sack, and he was almost intercepted on another one of his ugly floaters. Last Week: 15


Last Week: 15


It’s all in front of the Commanders now. The Giants were pasted by the NFC-leading Eagles in Week 14, putting Washington in position to pass New York in the wild-card standings with a win on Sunday night at FedEx Field. The Commanders made a depth-chart change ahead of the pivotal showdown, activating erstwhile starting QB Carson Wentz from injured reserve to serve as Taylor Heinicke’s backup. Said Ron Rivera, of the QB pecking order: “I feel comfortable with Taylor.” The decision was a no-brainer for the head coach. Heinicke is a popular player, both in the locker room and amongst the fanbase. Wentz can’t be thrilled to lose his job because of injury, but his understudy took an opportunity and ran with it. That’s football. Last Week: 13

The Ringer(Gayle)

The Commanders’ chances of making the postseason could clear 90 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight, if they just handle business as a 3.5-point home favorite over the Giants in Week 15. If it feels like you just saw this game, you’re right: Washington and the Giants tied two weeks ago, and the Commanders were off last week, giving Ron Rivera’s team an edge in preparation and rest for this rematch. Last Week: 15

Clutch Points(Johrendt)

On their bye this week, the Washington Commanders are very much still in the playoff hunt at 7-5-1. Their tie with the Giants helps keep an aspect of the NFC East standings level, but looking up at both the Eagles and Cowboys makes their playoff chances rest on the Wild Card race and nothing more. Last Week: 15


Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

The Commanders play the Giants on Sunday night and it’s practically a playoff game. The winner will have a huge edge to get an NFC wild-card spot. The Commanders have to feel good about their chances to win that home game, especially off a bye. Last Week: 15

USA Today(Davis)

After dominating their bye week – i.e., moving up to sixth place in the NFC – they very much look like a team that could reach 10 victories. And Sunday could mark the 2022 debut for DE Chase Young. Last Week: 15


The Lines

Washington is 6-1-1 since Taylor Heinicke took over for Carson Wentz and the Commanders (-175) are looking like even bigger favorites to grab a playoff spot after the Giants and Seahawks both lost during their Week 14 bye. Last Week: 17


Where should the Washington Commanders be ranked after 14 weeks?

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