Shemon & Sheppard – In The Afternoon

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Who are the Real Washington Commanders?

Who are the real Washington Commanders? In 2020 their defense was elite, and it got them all the way to the playoffs. They ranked 2nd in the NFL in allowing just over 300 yards per game. Now, it was just a 7-9 record, but they won the NFC East. 2021 was another 7 win season, but saw regression on the defense, allowing almost 360 yards per game. Will the real Washington defense please stand up. The offense has not been good in our nations Capital. They haven’t averaged more than 21 points per game since 2017! That needs to be fixed, and maybe they can catch lightning in a bottle with Carson Wentz coming over from Indy this offseason.

Adding Talent in the Draft

The Commanders added some high upside talent in the draft this year. Jahan Dotson from Penn State, who is a nice complement of their current wide receiver corps, was taken 16th overall. They also took QB Sam Howell out of UNC. going into the 2021 season, Howell was in the running to be the #1 overall pick. Needless to say, Howell’s final season in Chapel Hill was not great. But, that season needs context. The Tar Heels lost their top 2 running backs after 202, along with their top 3 pass catchers. The Heels lost something like 90% of their output from the season prior. The talent is still there, and if Carson Wentz struggles, the Commanders need to find out what they have with Sam Howell.

Conference and Division Question Marks

The NFC is very top heavy, and apart from the Buccaneers, Rams, and Packers there are question marks with every other team. The landscape in the NFC East is just as muddy as the conference. Dallas lost 2 of their top 3 wide receivers, Philly brought in talents but Jalen Hurts needs to show he can get it done, and the Giants were just 1-5 in the division last year. Because of the weak NFC, 9 wins could get you in the playoffs.

  • Schedule Breakdown

    Cason Wentz Washington Commanders Preview

    Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

    9/11 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

    9/18 @ Detroit Lions

    9/25 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    10/2 @ Dallas Cowboys

    10/9 vs. Tennessee Titans

    10/13 @ Chicago Bears

    10/23 vs. Green Bay Packers

    10/30 @ Indianapolis Colts

    11/6 vs. Minnesota Vikings

    11/14 @ Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night Football)

    11/20 @ Houston Texans

    11/27 vs. Atlanta Falcons

    12/4 @ New York Giants

    12/11 BYE

    12/17 vs. New York Giants (Saturday)

    12/24 @ San Francisco 49ers

    1/1 vs. Cleveland Browns

    1/8 vs. Dallas Cowboys

    The Commanders should absolutely split the first 2 games. Then it gets real in DC. I don’t think they can count a win in their next 3 against Philly, Dallas, and Tennessee. They are more talented than the Bears. Specifically their defensive front should own Chicago’s offensive line. Of their next 4 games the home game against Minnesota is the most likely win, but don’t count on it. Then they go on their run. They win 3 of their next 4 games against Houston, Atlanta, and 2 games against the Giants (home and away). The final 3 are all really difficult, but the Browns game is a question mark due to the status of Deshaun Watson.

    Prediction: 6-11 (Jacksonville, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Giants, and Cleveland)

  • Key Additions

    Andrew Norwell Washington Commanders Preview

    Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    G Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville Jaguars); 2-year/$10 million

    G Trai Turner (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1-year/$3 million

    QB Carson Wentz via trade

    DE Efe Obada (Buffalo Bills); 1-year/$1.87 million

  • Fantasy Outlook

    Antonio Gibson Washington Commanders Preview

    Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Running Back Antonio Gibson is one of the two premier fantasy players on the Washington roster. He is a solid RB2, but if you can get him as a Flex or RB3 to play in certain matchups, he carries a ton of value.  The other Commander to target is WR Terry McLaurin. I put him in the same camp as Gibson; solid WR2, but if you get him as a Flex or backup WR, he carries much more value. Rookie Jahan Dotson is worth a late round pick, but do not rely on him as a starter at the beginning of the season.

  • Best Case Scenario

    Terry McLaurin Washington Commanders Preview

    Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    The Commanders can start the season 2-0. A home game in week 3 against the Eagles presents a huge opportunity to win a home divisional game, and provide a real spark to the franchise. If they can start 3-0, win the home games against the Cowboys, and sweep the Giants they’re already at 6 wins. Add in games against the Bears, Texans, and Falcons, and they’re at 9 already. The home game against Cleveland in week 17 could be another win with Deshaun Watson’s future up in the air.

    Best Case: 10-7