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NFL Play of the Day: July 06
Last season, the Commanders lost Ryan Fitzpatrick, their starting quarterback, in the second half of their first game of the year. Washington was forced to start their backup quarterback for the entire 2021 season. Taylor Heinicke had some great moments and he led Washington to a 7-10 record against one of the hardest schedules in football, but his lack of arm strength and his poor decision-making proved all season long that he is a career NFL backup for a reason.
Fast forward to this off-season and the Commanders have a new starting quarterback in Carson Wentz, a first-round rookie WR Jahan Dotson, a healthy defensive line with Chase Young and Montez Sweat back, and some new pieces on their offensive line. All of these improvements, with the help of a much easier schedule this season, leads me to believe that the Commanders are a team certainly capable of winning eight or more games this season.
Washington starts its season with back-to-back winnable games against the two teams that picked first and second overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. After these two games, Washington has a tough five-game stretch against solid teams, but all of these teams are beatable. Washington lost both games to Dallas and Philly last season but the Commanders are in a better spot to put up more of a fight in 2022. The Bears and Titans are both expected to be worse than they were last season and the Colts will have a new quarterback for the fourth time in four seasons.
Washington ends the season with winnable games vs the Vikings, Eagles, Texans, Falcons, Giants twice, and 49ers with games mixed in against the Browns and the Cowboys. If Deshawn Watson is suspended for the entire year, the Browns may not be formidable and the Cowboys are worse than they were last year. I am not saying the Commanders will sweep the floor with any of these teams, but they certainly have a stronger outlook than a lot of the teams on their schedule this season.
Going matchup by matchup, I have Washington beating the Jaguars, Lions, Bears, Texans, Falcons, Eagles once, and Giants twice. I can also see Washington beating the 49ers, Browns, Titans, and the Cowboys at least one time. That has Washington winning at least eight games however you break it down. In one of the weaker divisions in the NFC, and with one of the weakest schedules, Washington should certainly hit the over on their win total this season.
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