clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Commanders fans are more focused on winning than on draft position or Ron Rivera’s job security

Survey Results!!


Commanders fans want to win.

While the front office may have traded away two defensive starters ahead of the Week 9 game against the Patriots and some people are already shifting their sights to next April’s draft and the 2024 season, more than 3 out of 4 Hogs Haven readers surveyed this week said that they prefer to see the team continue to win games and try to reach the playoffs.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation

The team will face an uphill battle to reach the playoffs or even to finish with a winning record.

In compiling its current 4-5 record, Washington faced 8 teams that, to date, have a combined record of 28-44. Five of those teams are among the bottom 6 teams in the league ranked by wins & losses.

By contrast, the upcoming 8 games will be against 7 teams with a current combined record of 30-29. Four of those teams currently have winning records, compared to just two teams (Philly and Buffalo) in the first half of the season.

To finish with a winning record, the Commanders will need to get at least 5 wins in the final 8 games. There are at least a couple of reasons to feel like this may be possible.

First, two of the team’s 5 losses have come against the Philadelphia Eagles, who, at 8-1, have the NFL’s best record. Washington took the first game to overtime before ultimately losing on a field goal. The second game was lost by a score of 38-31, but Sam Howell looked like a very good NFL quarterback in that game, going 39-52 for 397 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT. If Washington was able to play that well in two games against arguably the best team in the league, then no team remaining on the schedule should be considered unbeatable.

Second is the play of Sam Howell. The 2nd-year player and first-year starter has, as noted, begun to hit his stride. He had one atrocious personal performance against the Bills in Week 3, but hasn’t looked that bad in any other game. The offensive line was a sieve against the Giants in the first half of the Week 7 contest when the team had no answers for the Giants pass rush, but adjustments were made at the half to improve the protection. Changes to the offensive line starters were made the following week, and against two good defenses (Eagles and Patriots) in Weeks 8 & 9, the protection held up and Sam Howell had two of his best games as a professional.


Twice before in the Reacts 2023 surveys, we have asked Hogs Haven readers to predict the record for a 4-game stretch. Readers accurately predicted that the team would go 2-2 in its first 4 games of the season. That accuracy did not hold up in the next such survey, however. Ahead of the Week 5 Thursday Night Football game against the Bears, those responding to the survey predicted a 3-1 record in the ‘second quarter’ of the 17-game season. The team actually finished 1-3 in those four games, surprisingly losing to the Bears and Giants in addition to the Eagles, with the lone win coming against the Falcons.

This week, fans responding to the the Reacts survey are less bullish about the ‘third quarter’ than they were about the second.

74% of respondents predict that the team will win no more than 2 games, and less than 1% of fans predicted that Washington would be undefeated.

The next four games are:

  • at Seattle 5-3
  • NY Giants 2-7
  • at Dallas 5-3
  • Miami 6-3

The most obvious spot for a win is against the Giants, but this week’s game against the Seahawks offers opportunity as well.

While the Seahawks have managed one more win than the Commanders in the first half of the season, they have done so against similar competition. Similar to Washington, Seattle has faced 4 of the NFL’s 6 worst teams. Unlike Washington, who played the team with the NFL’s best record twice in the first 9 weeks, the Seahawks have played only one game against a team with more than 6 wins; that was last week against the Ravens — a game in which Seattle was blown out 37-3.

Over the past 5 games, Seattle has struggled offensively, averaging 16.8 points per game. Despite losing 3 of its last 5 games, Washington has averaged over 20 ppg over its last five games.

Seattle could lose this game and remain in contention for both the NFC West title and a wildcard seeding. Washington has no hope of winning the NFC East, and a loss this week to the Seahawks would make it very unlikely that the Commanders could seriously contend for a playoff seeding. With both teams currently in the NFC wildcard race, the winner gains a potentially important tie-breaking advantage.

In short, this game is probably more critical for the Commanders. History is on their side, however. In regular season games played between the two teams in Seattle, Washington is 7-1, with the only road loss to the Seahawks occurring in 1998. Excluding the Seahawks’ NFC West division foes, only the Atlanta Falcons, who are 4-3 in seven regular season games at Lumen Field, have as many wins in Seattle as Washington since 2002. Every team except Washington has lost there.

Can the burgundy & gold maintain the team’s winning ways in the great northwest?

Not many people outside of the Washington fan base seem to think so.

You can see from the image on the left that the Seattle fans are very confident of a win on Sunday afternoon, with 86% of those responding to their survey predicting a Seahawks victory.

The middle and right-hand images show results of the national email survey, with the middle one showing that only 18% of fans surveyed expect the Seahawks to miss the playoffs, while the right-hand image shows that only 1 in 4 NFL fans surveyed said that Washington will get into the playoffs.

This week’s predictions

Every week, in the national Reacts email survey, fans are asked to predict game outcomes for the coming week. This week, as usually happens, they have already been proven right by the outcome of the Thursday night game in which the Chicago Bears outlasted the Carolina Panthers in a low-scoring game.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation

National fans are predicting a Seahawks victory over Washington tomorrow. DraftKings has the Seahawks favored by a surprisingly large 6-point margin. I think the teams are much more evenly matched. I suspect that the oddsmakers are building in the Seahawks’ usual home-field advantage, not realizing that Washington has historically been immune to it.

The NFC East

The Eagles are on a bye this week, so they will remain at 8-1.

The other two teams in the division — the Cowboys and Giants — play each other in Dallas. For the Giants, starting QB Daniel Jones is lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, and his backup, Tyrod Taylor, is on injured reserve with a rib injury that will also force him to miss the game against Washington next week.

In the absence of Jones and Taylor, New York has had to turn to undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito, who is backed up by the recently-signed Matt Barkley. DeVito got his first extended action in an NFL game a week ago against the Raiders, and threw for 175 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs in a 30-6 beatdown administered by Las Vegas. This appears to be the closest thing to an automatic win in the NFL, with Dallas listed as 17-point favorites.

With Dallas almost certainly moving to 6-3 this week, that’s one more reason why Washington needs to win in Seattle to stay within one win of the Cowboys and hopefully enjoy their own ‘almost automatic’ win against the Giants at FedEx in Week 11 to move back above .500 for the first time since Week 3 of the season.

Fan Confidence

Fan confidence is driven by more than wins and losses, but, generally speaking, it tends to go up when the team wins and down when the team loses. That was the case this week. Washington went to New England and got a road win against the Patriots. Sam Howell and the rest of the offense played well against a good Bill Belichick defense, and Washington held the Patriots to 17 points.

Fan confidence enjoyed a bit of a surge, rising 9 points to 69%. After bottoming out two weeks ago in the wake of the loss to the Giants, a good showing against the Eagles followed by decisive front office action in trading away Montez Sweat and Chase Young saw a resurgence in confidence among survey respondents despite the fact that Washington remains below .500 and stuck in 3rd place in the division.

At the moment, though, the Commanders sit only one game out of an NFC playoff seeding, just behind the Seahawks, Cowboys and Vikings, each with 5 wins. If Washington can win on the road in Seattle, and again at home against a badly struggling Giants team, then confidence would likely surge, and the team’s playoff hopes would be strongly bolstered.

A loss on Sunday afternoon would have the opposite effect, and might be the first genuine death knell of the Commanders 2023 season.

The game kicks off at 4:25 pm tomorrow. Let’s hope for a strong team performance and a good road win.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation