Washington’s 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 10-7
Total: Over-Under: 6-10
The Washington Football Team finished in first place in the NFC East and made the NFL Playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Even if WFT only won six regular-season games and were bounced from the playoffs in the first round, their season was a major success. Every so often a division is so bad that the team that wins the title has a losing record and gets a shot in the postseason. The WFT may have finished the season with a .353 winning percentage, but they have a lot to be proud of and build from for next season.
Washington captured their first division title since 2015 during a rebuild year with a carousel of quarterbacks. Led by the defense, WFT made the most of the cards they were dealt this season. Coach Ron Rivera battled cancer (and won), and QB Alex Smith started at quarterback after a life threatening injury that required 17 surgeries to repair over two years ago. Resilience is the word that best explained Washington’s team in 2020.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 3-1
Washington started the season with an upset victory over their division rivals, the Eagles, which set the tone for the season in the NFC East. Weeks 2-4 were tough for the WFT as they lost by an average of over 14 points in their three games against the Cardinals, Browns and Ravens. The defense did not hold one of those three opponents below thirty points and the offense, looked terrible.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 0-4
The Football Team blew out the Cowboys during the second quarter of the season but lost two games to the Giants over this four game span of the season. The 25-3 victory over Dallas ended a five-game losing streak. The victory put their division-record at 2-2 at the midway point in the season, and although they were 2-6 overall they still had a real shot at winning the NFC East. Kyle Allen took over the QB position for Dwayne Haskins Jr. in Week 5 and kept the job until Alex Smith took over in Week 9. The NFL is a tough league to win, and it is especially tough if you do not have consistency from the quarterback. By the midway point of the season Washington was already on their third QB, but it did not phase them.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 2-2
The third quarter of the season started off with a close 30-27 loss in Detroit, and ended with three straight wins that eventually led to a four-game winning streak. The winning streak was powered by the defense and the defense was powered by DE Chase Young and the front-four. A 41-16 victory over the Cowboys gave Washington the sweep of their division foes. The WFT followed up their huge victory over the Cowboys with an even bigger win in Week 13 when they took down the 11-0 Steelers in Pittsburgh, 23-17. The upset not only had people questioning how good the Steelers actually were, but the league was also questioning how good the WFT actually was.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 1-3
By the fourth quarter of the season the WFT now were in the driver seat of winning the NFC East. A 23-15 win over the 49ers capped-off their four-game winning streak before they lost two straight games to the Seahawks and Panthers. They only gave up 20 points in each loss but the offense could not generate enough points to capture the win. The defense was playing really well down the stretch which is what made Washington a tough opponent late in the season. Washington headed into Week 17 in a win-and-in type of situation as they hosted the Eagles. A 20-14 victory led by Alex Smith and the defense capped off the bumpy but successful season.
Divisional Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 5-7
Washington hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs, with yet again, a new quarterback. QB Taylor Heinicke was a surprise start for the WFT as Alex Smith couldn’t play due to injury. Heinicke performed well in his second-career pro start against the team that went on to win Super Bowl LV. Heinicke ran for 46 yards and a touchdown and threw for 306 yards and a score as the Bucs beat Washington 31-23. The WFT were only a few plays away from upsetting Tom Brady and the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs.
Full Season Grade: B-
The record was not impressive, and losing in the first round is never fun, but for Washington the season was a huge step in the right direction. A team that entered the season in rebuild mode, won its division and performed well in the playoffs all while their head coach was fighting cancer and the QB situation was a carousel. People looking in on the season may not think Washington had a great year but I am sure the front office and the players are very proud of what they achieved this season. The WFT can take that excitement and carry it into next season.
Looking Ahead to Next Season
Glaring Needs: Quarterback
The WFT has re-signed Heinicke to a two-year deal after his strong showing against the NFL’s best team. Heinicke showed he had all the tools to be a viable-starting QB, but one performance is not enough to convince me that he is the quarterback that can lead this team back to the postseason. Washington will also return QB Kyle Allen for next season, which puts Alex Smith’s future in question, because Washington knows they need to improve at the most important position next season. They already tried to trade for Matthew Stafford and will be looking to add a starting-caliber QB this offseason. A player like QB Deshaun Watson would really make Washington a scary team next season.
Obvious Strengths: Defensive Line
Washington gave up the second least yards per game this past season and were one of the most successful teams at getting after the QB. Their first round pick in last years’ draft DE Chase Young quickly became a leader and captain in his first year with the team. Young and the defense was a big part of the team’s overall-success. The defense is still young and they improved all season-long. A few more additions to the back-end of the defense or depth in the front four would make Washington one of the best defenses again next season. Don’t be surprised if Washington bolsters the safety and linebacker spots via free agency and the draft.
Predicted Record for 2021 Season: 9-7
Washington is an obvious candidate to make a huge jump next season. They are young and have a lot of fight and seemed to have jelled this past season. Heinicke showed he possess skills of an All-Pro QB in his second career start, and if he progresses this offseason, then Washington will make a big-leap. Or if they are able to acquire a bonafide-starting QB through trade, then they have Heinicke and Allen as back-ups which makes their QB situation a strength heading into the season. The NFC East may have a new top dog for a while if Washington finds a consistent QB, but the NFL is hard to predict and the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants are all looking to put 2020 behind them and take the title from Washington.