The Washington Football Team, which appears to be sticking with that name for at least the 2021 season, is coming off a division title despite arecord of 7 – 9. They secured the playoff spot with a 20-14 win over division rival Philadelphia andcame within a score of Tom Brady and the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs, bowing out 31-23.
The Washington Commanders 2021 Schedule
Although they had a losing record, Washington still has to play a first place schedule in 2021, with road games against Buffalo and Green Bay, in addition to teams from the NFC South and the AFC West. The toughest of the rest of their games are all at home as they are slated to play host to New Orleans, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Seattle, along with the home-and-home NFC East matchups.
|Week 1||Sept. 12||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 2||Sept. 16||New York Giants|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||@Buffalo|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||@Atlanta|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||New Orleans|
|Week 6||Oct. 17||Kansas City|
|Week 7||Oct. 24||@Green Bay|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||@Denver|
|Week 9||Nov. 7||Bye|
|Week 10||Nov. 14||Tampa Bay|
|Week 11||Nov. 21||@Carolina|
|Week 12||Nov. 29||Seattle|
|Week 13||Dec. 5||@Las Vegas|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||Dallas|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||@Philadelphia|
|Week 16||Dec. 26||@Dallas|
|Week 17||Jan. 2||Philadelphia|
|Week 18||Jan.9||@New York Giants|
Washington Commanders News & Picks
Washington Commanders 2020 Summary
The team’s’2020 success, if it can really be called that, can be attributed entirely to Washington’s defense that ranked second in passing and total yardage allowed while the offense was 25th and 30th in the same categories. After an upset victory in the first game over the Philadelphia Eagles, they lost six of their next seven outings, falling to a record of 2-7 and seemingly out of postseason consideration.
Fortunately for Washington, they were playing in the worst division in the NFL and were able to rebound with four wins in a row to get back in the playoff hunt. Washington was woefully weak in offensive production, but their defense gave up more than 350 yards just three times and only once in their final 11 games.
Washington Commanders Key Players
After parting ways with former first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins and veteran Alex Smith at quarterback, Washington needs the journeyman Fitzpatrick to provide solid, if not spectacular play in 2021. Haskins and Smith combined for 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 12 starts in 2020 and they’ll be looking for a much better performance from the 16-year veteran who completed 68.5 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions for 2,091 yards in nine appearances with Miami in 2020.
The second year defensive end had a standout Pro Bowl rookie season and was one of the primary reasons for the success of Washington’s defense. At least as much is expected of him in 2021. Along with Montez Sweat, his counterpart on the other end of the line, they combined for 16.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
The former quarterback turned tight end caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, adding a much-needed spark to an anemic offense and he’ll need to perform at a similar level in 2021 while the team looks to incorporate some new offensive weapons. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder will provide Fitzpatrick a big option, especially if he needs to check down from his primary targets.
Washington Commanders New Additions
The fifth-year wide receiver brings what Washington hopes is a significant upgrade to the position, giving 2020 leading pass catcher Terry McLaurin some help on the outside. For the Carolina Panthers last season Samuels grabbed 77 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged over 11 yards per catch, which is also what the second-round draft pick out of Ohio State has posted for his career.
Washington took linebacker Jamin Davis out of Kentucky with its first-round draft pick, the 19th player chosen. He’ll be counted on to bring even more athletic ability to what was a stout defensive unit in 2020 and, one that is again going to need to play well without an obvious franchise quarterback on the roster.
After an injury-plagued 2020 season, Washington has the seventh-year receiver penciled in as a starter along with McLaurin and Samuel, hoping he can return to the form that saw him catch 76 passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.
Washington Commanders Key Subtractions
Although the 2011 first-round draft pick out of Purdue started just one game in 2020, the veteran linebacker was still an emotional leader of the Washington defense. The team’s depth at his position as well as the defensive front prompted his release, but his intangible contributions will be difficult to replace.
The quarterback battled back from a debilitating injury to lead the team to the four consecutive victories that were instrumental in their division title, going 5-1 as a starter and earning the Comeback Player of the Year award. Releasing Smith to make room for a new regime at quarterback seems somewhat confusing, since instead of drafting a player at the position, they replaced him with another veteran two years older than Smith.
The first-round pick in 2019 was supposed to become the franchise quarterback that Washington has been seeking since the brief tenure of Robert Griffin III was ended by injuries. The release of Haskins before Week 17 last season won’t have much of an impact on the field, but it further exemplifies the inability of Washington to manage and develop anyone at the quarterback position.
Although the Washington Football Team won the NFC East in 2020 with a record of 7-9, the Dallas Cowboys are the betting favorites, with +125 odds to win the division in 2021. Next on the odds list are the Washington Football Team at +225, followed by the New York Giants (+400) and the Eagles (+500).
The over/under for wins for the Cowboys is 9.5, Washington is at 8.5, the Giants are at 7.0 and finally the Eagles also at 6.5. The Cowboys have odds of +2500 to reach the Super Bowl, with Washington at +5000 and Philadelphia and the Giants both at odds of +6600. More betting information is available on the NFL team‘s page.
Washington Commanders Offense
Although the receiving corps has been upgraded, Fitzpatrick doesn’t bring much more to the table than Smith provided and there was little change made at running back. Leading rusher Antonio Gibson is still expected to handle the majority of the load this season. With one of the top defenses in the league, Washington won’t need to score 30 points a game to be successful, but they’ll need to be more consistent than they were in 2020, when they were held to less than 250 total yards in four games.
Washington Commanders Defense
If anything, this second ranked unit from 2020 actually added some strength with a first round pick at linebacker joining four others along the defensive line. Chase Young should only be better with a year of experience and the secondary should give the line plenty of time to again be among the league leaders in sacks after recording 47 in 2020.
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