How tough is the Washington Commanders’ schedule in 2022?

September 6, 2022

Remark

After dealing with one of many NFL’s hardest slates in 2021, the Washington Commanders have one of many league’s best schedules in 2022. Washington will play seven video games towards groups anticipated to be among the many eight worst within the league this season and can face solely two groups projected within the prime 10, in response to Inpredictable, a sports activities betting evaluation web site.

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On this vital third yr, Coach Ron Rivera desires to begin quick. His crew has struggled early in each of his years in Washington — beginning 2-7 in 2020, then 2-6 in 2021 — and it might be exhausting to cherry-pick a neater opening stretch than this yr’s. If the Commanders navigate the powerful a part of the schedule, which typically comes in the course of the yr, a late bye (in Week 14) might propel them towards the postseason — although they usually will probably be at a vital relaxation drawback.

Right here’s a week-by-week breakdown of Washington’s schedule:

Week 1: Sept. 11 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Rivera’s third season begins with a mushy launch. Jacksonville is without doubt one of the solely groups in the identical stratosphere of dysfunction as Washington. Since 2011, the Jaguars have been the worst crew within the league, by a large margin, at 47-130 (.266).

Regardless of large modifications — firing City Meyer and hiring former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to develop a younger, gifted core — the Jaguars stay a relative layup. The Carson Wentz period will start with an opportunity for the quarterback to avenge final season’s Week 18 loss that pressured the Colts out of the playoffs and him out of Indianapolis.

Week 2: Sept. 18 at Detroit Lions

Much like Jacksonville: If Rivera desires to point out his crew has taken a step ahead, Detroit is a juicy alternative — even on the street. The Lions have younger expertise and appear to play exhausting for Coach Dan Campbell, however with quarterback Jared Goff, their ceiling is restricted.

In a loss at Ford Discipline in 2020, Washington defensive finish Chase Younger made the most important mistake of his rookie yr by roughing the passer within the last seconds to push the Lions into subject objective vary. Younger will miss at the least the season’s first 4 video games whereas recovering from a knee damage, so he gained’t be capable of redeem himself on this one.

Week 3: Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

In 2020, the Rivera period started with a shock win over the Wentz-led Eagles at house. Wentz was 24 for 42 for 270 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — and he wish to be higher in his first matchup with the crew that drafted him.

Although this sport may not be as charged as Wentz’s return to Philadelphia in Week 10, it guarantees to hold additional weight for a 29-year-old who’s attempting to rejuvenate his profession.

Week 4: Oct. 2 at Dallas Cowboys

In Week 16 final season, this crew imploded in a 56-14 loss at Dallas. Washington allowed 42 factors within the first half, matching a franchise report, and one defensive deal with, Jonathan Allen, threw a punch at one other, Daron Payne, on the sideline because the crew’s playoff hopes evaporated on “Sunday Evening Soccer.”

Oddsmakers consider this will probably be one among Washington’s hardest video games. The Cowboys are favored to defend their NFC East title and are led by quarterback Dak Prescott, huge receiver CeeDee Lamb and linebacker Micah Parsons.

Week 5: Oct. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans

Final season, Tennessee bought the AFC’s prime seed as a significantly better model of what Washington wished to be: a defensive energy with an elite speeding assault and an efficient veteran passer. This yr, the Titans will run it again with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, operating again Derrick Henry and a protection headlined by security Kevin Byard and deal with Jeffery Simmons.

Week 6: Oct. 13 at Chicago Bears

For the primary time since 2007, Washington will face a Thursday evening opponent that’s neither within the NFC East nor the Minnesota Vikings. Rivera has not had lots of success teaching towards the crew he spent 9 years with as a participant — Carolina was 1-3 vs. Chicago below Rivera — and Washington has a formidable take a look at to reverse that pattern regardless of the Bears’ bleak outlook within the first yr of a brand new regime.

Because the arrival of “Thursday Evening Soccer” in 2006, street groups are 107-139 (.435).

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Week 7: Oct. 23 vs. Inexperienced Bay Packers

After one other busy offseason, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is again — however the crew round him appears totally different. The Packers traded star wideout Davante Adams to Las Vegas, so their offense will depend on a number of rookie huge receivers and a gifted backfield. The unit wants to attain simply sufficient to enrich the protection, which, led by cornerback Jaire Alexander and deal with Kenny Clark, is anticipated to be one of many NFL’s greatest.

Week 8: Oct. 30 at Indianapolis Colts

That is the primary of three straight video games that supply intrigue for Washington quarterbacks previous and current. Wentz returns to Indianapolis, the place final yr an try to reestablish his profession below former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich combusted. A number of within the Indianapolis group, together with proprietor Jim Irsay, repeatedly criticized Wentz this offseason. In August, Irsay stated, “We went by some inconsistency at quarterback, and that led to large issues.”

The Colts changed Wentz by buying and selling for longtime Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, they usually convey again 2021 speeding champion Jonathan Taylor.

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Week 9: Nov. 6 vs. Minnesota Vikings

You want that! For the primary time since Washington let him stroll after the 2017 season, Kirk Cousins returns to FedEx Discipline. The 34-year-old quarterback — who went from fourth-round afterthought to Robert Griffin III’s successor to disgruntled two-time recipient of the franchise tag — will probably be joined by former Washington offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings’ first-year coach.

In October 2019, the one time Cousins has confronted his former crew, the host Vikings beat Washington, 19-9, behind Cousins’s peak Cousins day: 23 for 26 for 285 yards, no touchdowns and no picks.

Week 10: Nov. 14 at Philadelphia Eagles

On “Monday Evening Soccer,” Wentz returns to Philadelphia, the place in 5 years he went from hyped No. 2 decide to MVP candidate to one of many league’s worst quarterbacks to booed whereas sitting on the bench. The Eagles ate a report $33.8 million in wage cap to commerce Wentz as a part of the acrimonious cut up. Town will probably be ready to point out some cohesion.

Carson Wentz could by no means once more play like an MVP. Analysts say he can nonetheless enhance the Commanders.

Week 11: Nov. 20 at Houston Texans

Houston is anticipated to be the league’s worst crew, in response to Inpredictable. The Texans are nonetheless reeling from the organizational overhaul that led to the promotion of govt vp of soccer operations Jack Easterby.

Washington has confronted Houston simply 5 instances, its fewest matchups with any lively crew, going 2-3. Quarterback Davis Mills, wideout Brandin Cooks and rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. lead this yr’s Texans.

Week 12: Nov. 27 vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are the one crew Inpredictable expects to be in the identical realm of unhealthy as Houston. After buying and selling Matt Ryan, Atlanta will wager on journeyman quarterback Marcus Mariota to maximise tight finish Kyle Pitts and rookie huge receiver Drake London.

However the protection options little expertise outdoors of deal with Grady Jarrett, which means Atlanta ought to be inclined to a shootout.

Week 13: Dec. 4 at New York Giants

If quarterback Daniel Jones remains to be the Giants’ starter, the Commanders should be taught to comprise him. In three years, Jones is 4-1 with a 100.4 passer ranking towards Washington — and 8-24 with an 82 passer ranking towards everybody else. Basically, towards Washington Jones is Russell Wilson — he has 30 rushes for 218 yards — and towards everybody else he’s Jason Campbell.

Week 15: Dec. 17 or 18 vs. New York Giants

After a late bye, Washington faces New York once more, this time at house with a big relaxation benefit. (The Giants host Philadelphia the week earlier than.) That is the one comfort for a tough second-half slate that features 4 video games — at Philadelphia, on the Giants, at San Francisco, vs. Dallas — by which the Commanders’ opponent may have additional relaxation.

Having such a bonus significantly issues late within the season. Previously decade, groups favored by betting markets with a relaxation benefit are 79-30 (.725), in response to Sharp Soccer.

Week 16: Dec. 24 at San Francisco 49ers

Christmas Eve. West Coast. Saturday afternoon. Washington might get its first glimpse of quarterback Trey Lance, and Coach Kyle Shanahan may have a shot at enhancing his 2-1 report towards the crew he and his father, Mike, coached in the course of the RGIII period.

Oddsmakers consider this sport and Week 4 at Dallas are the hardest on Washington’s schedule.

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Week 17: Jan. 1 vs. Cleveland Browns

If wholesome, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will probably be in his fifth sport again from suspension. The Browns have an elite protection, led by finish Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward, they usually might turn out to be an excellent offense with a harmful operating again tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt if Watson returns to his kind from 2020 with Houston.

Washington has at all times struggled towards Cleveland. The Commanders’ 12-34-1 report (.266) towards the Browns is their second worst vs. any crew, behind solely their mark towards Kansas Metropolis (1-10, .091).

Week 18: Jan. 7 or 8 vs. Dallas Cowboys

All people is aware of what that is: rivals assembly over the last week of the season in what league and tv executives hope will probably be a sport with playoff implications. Do the groups come by? TBD. (Washington additionally will retire former quarterback Sonny Jurgensen’s No. 9.)