After winning the NFC East in 2020, the team formerly known as the Redskins and then Washington Football Team in 2021 finished with a 7-10 record, which was good for third place in the division behind Dallas and Philadelphia but ahead of the New York Giants. After struggling at quarterback all year, the team traded for Carson Wentz for the 2022 season — the third under head coach Ron Rivera.
After he had an impressive performance in a loss against eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the 2020 playoffs, Washington decided to go with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback in 2021. He only averaged just over 200 yards a game and had 20 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions, finishing 7-8 as a starter. After splitting their first four games, Washington lost four in a row but then won four-straight games to get into wild card contention. Another four-game skid, however, led to the subpar 7-10 record.
Washington running back Antonio Gibson ran for 1,037 yards last year, and Terry McLaurin caught 77 passes for 1,053 yards, but not having a great quarterback kept the offense from getting into high gear. The Commanders addressed that issue by trading a third-round pick in 2021 and ’22 to Indianapolis for quarterback Carson Wentz. The former Eagles quarterback had a decent year with the Colts before back-to-back poor starts caused Indy to miss the playoffs.
Many believe Washington paid too steep a price for Wentz, but they have been desperate for a franchise quarterback. Here is a chart of QBs who started at least one game for Washington over the past four seasons since Kirk Cousins’ successful run from 2014-17.
|Alex Smith||2018, ’20||16|
|Taylor Heinicke||2020 (playoff game)-21||16|
Washington also locked up McLaurin to a three-year extension this offseason and drafted wide receiver Jahan Dotson out of Penn State at 16th overall to help the passing game. Defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis was selected in the second round, and his Alabama teammate Brian Robinson (RB) was drafted in the third round.
Washington Commanders Predictions
The Commanders have been dealt a couple of blows during training camp. First was news that defensive end Chase Young’s recovery from a torn ACL and MCL last November will cost him at least the first four games of this season. Then Robinson, who was appearing to challenge Gibson for the starting running back job, was shot during an attempted carjacking and also will miss at least the first four games while he recovers from surgery.
After Wentz lost the starting QB job in Philadelphia and then lasted just one year in Indianapolis, there are major questions over whether he can be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Rivera, meanwhile, has a good track record with quarterbacks, especially when Cam Newton was one of the best QBs in the league with Rivera in Carolina.
We predict that the Commanders finish 7-10 again this season, as a tough non-conference schedule will stand in the way of a winning season in Washington. The team, however, will know more of what they have in Wentz, and there are pieces on both sides of the ball for improvement in 2023 if Wentz has a stable season. DraftKings has set Washington’s over-under win total at 8.
Washington Commanders 2022 Schedule
|Week 1||9/11 vs. Jaguars||1 p.m|
|Week 2||9/18 at Lions||1 p.m|
|Week 3||9/25 vs. Eagles||1 p.m|
|Week 4||10/2 at Cowboys||1 p.m|
|Week 5||10/9 vs. Titans||1 p.m|
|Week 6||10/13 at Bears||(Thursday), 8:15 p.m.|
|Week 7||10/23 vs. Packers||1 p.m|
|Week 8||10/30 at Colts||4 p.m|
|Week 9||11/6 vs. Vikings||1 p.m|
|Week 10||11/14 at Eagles||(Monday), 8:15 p.m.|
|Week 11||11/20 at Texans||1 p.m|
|Week 12||11/27 vs. Atlanta||1 p.m|
|Week 13||12/4 vs. at Giants||1 p.m|
|Week 15||12/18 vs. Giants||1 p.m|
|Week 16||12/24 at 49ers||(Saturday), 4 p.m|
|Week 17||1/1 vs. Browns||1 p.m|
|Week 18||1/8 vs. Cowboys||1 p.m|
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You can buy Commanders season tickets or single-game tickets on Washington’s team website.
Teams in the NFC play most of their games on the FOX network. Games at AFC opponents are typically on CBS. The Week 6 Thursday night matchup in Chicago will be streaming on Amazon Prime, and the Monday night game at Philadelphia in Week 10 will be on ESPN.
The law in Maryland currently calls for just in-person sports bets at casinos in the state. That is expected to change by Jan. 1, 2023, where fans will be able to make bets online from computers or devices located anywhere in the state. The Commanders play on Jan. 1 and 8, so you will likely be able to place bets from your home (or anywhere else in Maryland) on NFL games this season.
The Commanders’ home stadium of FedEx Field is also located in Maryland. The team has received permission to open a sportsbook on the premises, but it is unclear whether it will open this season.