The Washington Commanders are an interesting team. Dan Snyder is out, and a new owner is in, but that should not exactly affect how the team plays. Head coach Ron Rivera could be on the hot seat throughout the year, but right now, all eyes will be on Sam Howell since Taylor Heinicke is gone. Will the new kid on the block shine in front of our eyes and give Washington hope? In such a loaded division, can the Commanders compete in the NFC East?
The Washington Commanders 2023 schedule is broken down to the following:
Week 1 vs. Arizona Cardinals – September 10 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 2 at Denver Broncos – September 24 | 4:25 PM ET
Week 3 vs. Buffalo Bills – September 24 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 4 at Philadelphia Eagles – October 1 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 5 vs. Chicago Bears (TNF) – October 5 | 8:15 PM ET
Week 6 at Atlanta Falcons – October 15 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 7 at New York Giants – October 22 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles – October 29 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 9 at New England Patriots – November 5 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 10 at Seattle Seahawks – November 12 | 4:25 PM ET
Week 11 vs. New York Giants – November 19 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 12 at Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving) – November 23 | 4:30 PM ET
Week 13 vs. Miami Dolphins – December 3 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 14 – BYE WEEK
Week 15 at Los Angeles Rams – December 17 | 4:05 PM ET
Week 16 at New York Jets – December 24 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 17 vs. San Francisco 49ers – December 31 | 1:00 PM ET
Week 18 vs. Dallas Cowboys – TBD
As part of the yearly division rotation, the Commanders will be facing off against the AFC East and NFC West. The Commanders have a few rough stretches and only have two primetime games. The Commanders will play on Thursday Night Football and Thanksgiving. Starting off against the Cardinals could be a confident booster for this young team, as the Cardinals will most likely be starting off without Kyler Murray. The Commanders defense is not as bad as people say, as last season the most points they gave up in a game was 37. Washington can be a good team, and starting off strong with a win against the Cardinals could set the tone for the season. For week two, the Commanders will play in Denver against Russell Wilson. The Broncos have a new head coach in Sean Payton, but will that put Wilson back on track after a terrible 2022 season? I think it’ll take time for Payton and Wilson to mesh, and this early in the season, the Commanders can start off 2-0 before they face a very tough opponent.
Week three will be against the Buffalo Bills, and to be honest, the Bills could just dominate this game. This is where the tough stretch comes in early as the Commanders will be facing the Bills, Eagles, and Bears for weeks three to five. The Commanders may have given the Eagles the first loss to their stunning start last season, but the Eagles will take care of this matchup solely off of their defense alone. The Eagles offense will just be the cherry on top in a game that could be ugly for the Commanders. An interesting matchup on Thursday Night Football will be the Bears. The Bears are starting to put together all the pieces for Justin Fields and by this time I think the offense for the Bears will be set straight. This Bears game could end up being closer than we think, but we have yet to really see Sam Howell in action, so it’s hard to say how well he will do under the bright lights. After a tough three game stretch, the Commanders can bounce back.
The Commanders will be slated to face the Falcons and Giants for weeks six and seven. Last season the Commanders did tie against the Giants, this time I think they can take one matchup and split with the Giants for 2023. The Falcons are also going to be riding with basically a new quarterback as well. The reason I give the Commanders this matchup on the road is, Sam Howell shows so much more potential with his archetype, at the same time, I trust the Commanders defense more than the Falcons defense. After two possible wins, the Commanders will again face the Eagles, whose defense got better through the NFL Draft and Jalen Hurts is just electric. The Eagles will most likely sweep the Commanders, but it could be possible that the Commanders once again upset the Eagles big time.
The next matchups before the bye week will be crucial. The Commanders have a rough stretch before the bye week, in which they will be playing on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. The Commanders should take down the Patriots as the offense is flat under Mac Jones. The Seahawks got better on offense and Geno Smith is starting to show why he is the starter based off the 2022 season. With an electric trio for the Seahawks at wide receiver, it’ll be hard to stop the Seahawks from throwing and even running the football. Before the bye, the Commanders have to face Miami. Miami has shown they can be strong, but it all relies on Tua Tagovailoa being healthy. The Dolphins didn’t do a whole lot in the offseason, but last season they made the playoffs and were a good, solid team when Tagovailoa was healthy. The Dolphins are a playoff team that can down the Commanders because of their offense.
With a late bye week, there are only four games left in the season. The Rams, Jets, Niners, and Cowboys. To be quite honest, the last two games could be wins because the Niners and Cowboys will most likely be resting their starters by this time. Both are playoff teams, unless a tragic injury occurs at the beginning of the season, but both will most likely rest their starters, leaving the Commanders to possibly steal two wins. The Rams still have a lot of rebuilding to do, and Sean McVay has a big road ahead of him, but the Commanders could be fighting towards the end of the season, which leads me to believe they will do what they can to end the season strong. The Commanders have a better defense than the Rams, and a better offense. This leaves the Jets, with Aaron Rodgers. Last season, the Commanders beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but it was a home game for Washington. This time it’ll be at the home of the Jets, and I think the hype about Aaron Rodgers will give the Jets a “home field advantage.” The Jets are a good team on paper, and by the time week 16 rolls around, we will definitely know what kind of team they are. The Jets take this game, giving the Commanders their only loss after the bye week.
The Commanders can be a good team. The NFC East is just extremely competitive, but the NFC isn’t all that competitive yet. The Commanders could slip into the playoffs if an NFC East team falls off early, but it’s a long shot. I see the Commanders going 8-9 this season, which would be a good start for Sam Howell if he starts the entire season.
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