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Playoffs in 2022 or Nah?

It is done.

Playoff Team in 2022 or Nah?

  • Yes - definitely

    Votes: 3 23.1%
  • No.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Possibly - if things break their way.

    Votes: 9 69.2%

  • Total voters
    13

Boone

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So there's been quite a bit of noise around this being a 'critical' 3rd season for Ron Rivera and company. We're all familiar with the momentous challenges Rivera has had to contend with in his first 2 seasons. Given some key additions and what appears to be a solid draft that added some significant talent, particularly on offense, what should we expect in the upcoming 2022 season in the inaugural season of the Washington Commanders?

Are our Commanders a playoff team in 2022 or nah?
 

Boone

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I don't think Ron Rivera, by any stretch of the imagination, is on the hot seat. I'm not even sure that if he doesn't get this team to the playoffs again in the next couple of seasons, that he'll be on the hot seat. That being said, I think this current team is loaded with talent.

None of us can predict how the Carson Wentz trade will turn out. But Ron Rivera won far more than he lost with Cam Newton under center, and he and Scott Turner almost accomplished that with Taylor Heinicke under center. I have to believe given his native ability that they'll be able to get the best out of Carson Wentz. Even if I'm proven dead wrong on that, we know we can be competitive with Heinicke if we have to go that route, and Sam Howell is a promising youngster.

Our ST are in great shape. I think Joey Slye is a very good kicker. Tress Way is the best punter in the NFL. And our coverage units have been better the past few years than in recent memory. We lost a solid returner in Carter but I am confident Jahan Dotson will be able to fill that void.

We've added major weapons on offense. In addition to Wentz, we resigned McKissic, added Dotson, Brian Robinson, and Cole Turner - and got a steal in Sam Howell (who barring disaster won't be a factor in 2022). Assuming Logan Thomas is back, we are loaded for bear on offense. I expect the OL to continue to overperform, especially with the additions of Norwell and Trae Turner.

Defense? Who knows. One would hope there won't be a repeat of last seasons mysteriously inept start. Hopefully, Del Rio will have Chase Young and Montez Sweat's minds right this go round. Mathis and Percy Butler will likely be immediate contributors who boost our D. And maybe Jamin Davis takes a huge step in 2022, or Cole Holcomb proves everyone wrong and turns out to be the answer at MLB. We have to be hoping that a) St-Juste can go a season without a concussion, and that William Jackson looks more like the guy we brought in last offseason.

The 2 biggest question marks on this 2022 squad are clearly Carson Wentz, and how this defense performs.

One thing I know. This team cannot afford to have another sluggish, slow start. They have to come out swinging from opening day on. It appears we may have a reprieve in 2022 from brutal scheduling. But our NFC East foes have also added weapons and improved. I don't see the Giants as being serious contenders, but Dallas is obviously our #1 challenger with Philly not far behind.

All of the above being said, I think this 2022 squad simply has too much talent, and too good of a coaching staff not to win 10 or 11 games. I think 2022 is a breakout year in the Ron Rivera era and this team finally looks and plays like a legit playoff team, not one who finds a way in with smoke, mirrors, and good fortune.
 
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Chris

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I am reasonably optimistic. I’m actually more concerned about Philly than I am Dallas.

We do get a chance to see Turner’s offense without a built-in excuse. Hopefully Del Rio can scheme his defense to the strengths of his talent this upcoming season. (Fuller, Davis, Collins*)
 

SilentThreat

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Similar to the 'pump the brakes' thread we had last year, we enter this year on the opposite end of the spectrum.

1. Last year we won 7 games, facing THE HARDEST schedule according to win % of opponents in the entire NFL. This year we face arguably the weakest schedule with teams like Jacksonville, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston.

2. Injuries. I'm not saying we wont have injuries, but we literally were on our 4th string center last year. IF we can stay healthier, I think this team looks different.

3. Arm ability at QB. I continue to wonder how much of our offense appearing to be only using clubs meant for a par 3 course last year was because of the arm limitations at QB. We have not seen a QB with a 'plus' arm be the foundation of a gameplan since Turner has been here. Kyle Allen is likely the 'best' arm we've seen under center during Turner's OC tenure. I have to hope this offense is drastically different this season with the arm back there to truly get the ball down field.

4. Dallas' schedule is much harder. We all play the same teams in the AFC South, but Dallas plays division winners in the other divisions. In the AFC North, we play Cleveland, they play Cincinnati. In the NFC West, we play San Fran, they play LA Rams. In the NFC South, we play Atlanta, they play Tampa Bay. Dallas plays 3 of the 4 teams that played on Championship weekend, where play 2 (one of these two is San Fran).

5. A weak NFC. Looking at the NFC, it's not a strong conference. LA Rams, Tampa Bay, and Green Bayappear to be strong, but there's not a lot of fear up and down the rest of the way. Seattle is beginning a rebuild. San Fran is transitioning to a major questionmark at QB (presumably), Arizona is dealinig with MAJOR drama between their QB, and losing their star WR for 6 games due to PED violations. Philly looks to be improved but there is going to be A LOT riding on Hurts and what he can do. With 7 teams making the playoffs, A WC birth is very viable with a 9-7 record or better.
 

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Great post ST! And don't forget to vote in the poll guys.
 

Kel Varnsen

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High Point

Somehow, despite all that went wrong last year and the less than stellar play at QB, they had a shot to win the division heading into December. Better QB play, less injuries/COVID, and a few more breaks, this is a playoff team this year. They have gotten better and the defending NFC East winners got worse. The Eagles and Giants did improve as well, but they are setup for the playoffs if they can play better. That’s why I answered Possibly. They do need to play better and have a few things break their way. But it’s not impossible nor is it a long shot. It’s definitely in their range of outcomes.
 

Canadian Hog

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As has always been the case with this team in the past 30 odd years or so, it will come down to our play in the division in my opinion.

Divisional play saved us when we won the division at 7-9 two seasons ago. I believe we were 5-1 that year in the East. Last season, the 2-4 overall divisional mark hurt us. It would have been really nice to see at 6-6, how we would have faired in those 4 late season NFC East games if we had close to the whole roster available to us...

I want to believe that an effective Wentz, a back to normal Sweat/Young duo, help for Terry, and an easier overall schedule will do the trick. However, as we know, an NFL season is a rollercoaster ride, and teams rise up from out of nowhere. What can seem like a favourable schedule in May can often turn into tough sledding come mid-season, so we can't really make assumptions.

That all said, I think it is safe to say that we know what we are getting in our own division. I think the loss of Cooper is going to be something the Cowboys miss, and if McCarthey has a slow start with a target already on his back, things could get dicey the rest of the season in Dallas. As well, Parsons had an amazing rookie year, but the question will become if he can replicate that in year 2. If he doesn't and he comes back to Earth some, that is an advantage for Washington and the rest of the NFC East. I personally see Philly maybe experiencing a bit of what we did a season ago - getting humbled by tougher schedule on paper and now playing with the weight of expectations with a younger coach/roster. What I am trying to get at is everything is shaping up for us to sneak up on the two teams who were ahead of us a year ago. They are ripe for the picking so to speak. The roster that we have alone should allow for that, but there are a few other things as mentioned that might be in our favour.

If we are just average in our own division and go 3-3, I think we are looking at an 8-9 win season. If we win 4 or 5 games in the East in '22, the roster has significantly been upgraded from two seasons ago, so I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility that we can approach a 10 or 11 win season - but that is only happening if we can be fairly dominant inside the East.
 

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The NFC East is not one of the stronger divisions top to bottom. In fact the top team, Dallas at 12-5 from last season, was in 4th place in 2020 when Dak Prescott got hurt.

So, an injury or two can re-swizzle the standings in 2022.

Jalen Hurts and Daniel Jones don't scare me. The Eagles were 9-8 playing an easy schedule in 2021 and faced a number of teams with their starting quarterbacks out of the lineup. That won't happen again.

The 2020 Commanders are evidence of that in making the playoffs off of a very weak schedule.

Dallas has done a good job of drafting over the past few years - Parsons, Lamb, etc. and is the most talented team in the division.
 

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I think a lot depends on the Carson Wentz experiment and how that ultimately pans out.

It honestly wouldn't surprise me if he turned out to be the best QB in the division and led us to a 12-5 record or something like that and into the playoffs. We've seen that kind of form from him in the past. Even last year he had the Colts in a good place.
On the other hand it also wouldn't surprise me if he is terrible and our offense struggles and we go something like 6-11.

I also think that a HUGE amount depends on luck for us, especially injury related luck. Washington have been desperately unlucky over the last few years with injuries. I know all teams have injury issues, but ours have been to KEY players and at KEY moments. I mean last year we lost Chase, Thomas, and Sweat for a long period. And then when we were bouncing back we were hit with Covid.

If Samuels can stay healthy this year and we can field him, Terry, Dotson and Dyami at WR all year, along with a healthy Logan Thomas and Bates in year 2, then Carson should be able to exploit defenses all day. And if we can keep Gibson from being dinged up, if Robinson plays a good rookie year, and if we can keep McKissic on the field, then we look pretty good at the skill positions. We have enough there to compete with almost anyone... IF Wentz can perform. That's a nebulous and murky IF.

I'm also a little worried about the D. I don't feel as confident in it as I did prior to the last couple of years... but then again they let us down badly last year so maybe that's a good thing.
 
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SkinsOrlando

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We'll need to finally catch some breaks on the injury front to make the paloffs. I'm going with possibly, I think we have enough talent for a wild card, don't see us taking the division but if we're signing guys off the street from the local deli again to play we're staring at another #12-18 draft pick.
 

Henry

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All of the good teams in the NFL are in the other conference, so sure, Washington could make the playoffs. I'm not sure they get past Philly to win the division, but it's possible.

This looks like an 8-9 win team. That could certainly do it this year.
 

Om

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Virginia Tech

Been saying it since we made the move for Wentz ... to me it's all about the QB position for this team in 2022. We've been treading water with a revolving door of meh at the position forever. If he turns out to be just another guy, we'll continue to tread.

If he turns out to be a legit NFL-caliber starter, on the other hand, I think this team is ready to content for a playoff spot and maybe even make some noise there if they're healthy late.
 

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Hurts will be exposed against a better schedule.

I still think Dallas wins the division and Wash/Philly are fighting to remain in contention.

Giants are bringing up the rear while jettisoning former high picks and free agents.
 

Henry

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Been saying it since we made the move for Wentz ... to me it's all about the QB position for this team in 2022. We've been treading water with a revolving door of meh at the position forever. If he turns out to be just another guy, we'll continue to tread.

If he turns out to be a legit NFL-caliber starter, on the other hand, I think this team is ready to content for a playoff spot and maybe even make some noise there if they're healthy late.
That is a perfectly reasonable take.

However :)

Wentz's career record is 44-40-1, and it's not like he's been stuck on lousy teams his entire career. One of those teams won a Superbowl. He just doesn't strike me as an elevate-the-team-above-the-sum-of-its-parts kinda guy. My hope is that he's an above-average placeholder type and that might be good enough to enable Rivera to coach the team up to 10 wins or so.

But I don't know. Rivera hasn't won more than seven games in four seasons and Washington hasn't won more that seven games in five. The team hasn't shown that it's particularly good at anything with any consistency. The defensive line flashed some greatness a few years ago. There's a good WR on offense. The rest is ... I don't know. Everyone looks great in the offseason.

I think Washington is going to be one of those average teams hoping to get enough breaks to find themselves in the playoffs. It could be them this year. The NFC looks terrible.

We'll see.
 

Om

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That too is a perfectly reasonable take.

I'm not sure exactly where we part ways?
 

Boone

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The Super Bowl year, Wentz lead them to an 11-2 record before Foles took over. That season was as much about Wentz as anyone else and he likely would’ve been league MVP if he’d been able to stay healthy.

And then there is the far more human version of Wentz. Which guy are we getting? Don’t know. But we haven’t had a QB capable of that kind of season here in a long time.

I know. ‘Show me’. I get it. But I’m gonna push back on the idea that Wentz is ‘just a guy’. His ceiling is far above that. Will he play to that level? No idea. We generally can’t have nice things. But it’s not impossible he revives his career in this offense.
 

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I'm not saying I expect a Super Bowl run but after what this team has done the last 2 years without really much legit QB play, I expect to make the playoffs with the expanded number of teams in a weak NFC.

Honestly, it is less a matter of things falling right for us to make and more a matter of things going terribly wrong for us to miss it. IMO
 

Chris

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Carson Wentz doesn’t need to set the world on fire, he just needs to not shit the bed.

If he can be as good as Taylor Heinicke with an actual NFL arm, I will be happy. Anything more is a bonus.

Right Mr. Turner?
 

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