Nov 22, 2022 - Sports

Heinicke could lead the Commanders to a playoff run

Heinicke is bringing the focus back to the field. Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Commanders are enjoying a late-season momentum boost under Taylor Heinicke, who’s won four of his last five games as starting quarterback. 

Driving the news: After Sunday’s win over the Texans, head coach Ron Rivera announced a role reversal: Heinicke will remain the team's starter with Carson Wentz serving as backup. 

State of play: The underdog QB's recent wins are an unexpected but welcome turn of events for a team that started the season 1-4 and has about a 50% shot at the playoffs, according to 538’s prediction.

  • The 29-year-old Old Dominion University alum hasn’t gotten these wins completely on his own though. The Commanders' defensive line has been a powerhouse, racking up an impressive five sacks on Sunday.​​

Why it matters: Bringing focus back to the field is a needed shift after lots of attention has been on owner Dan Snyder and his latest round of scandals.

Yes, but: The playoffs are still a long shot. The NFC East is a competitive conference, and the last-ranked Commanders still have two more losses than the third-ranked Giants.

What’s next: For Heinicke’s success to end in a playoff run, the Commanders need to keep winning. They’re favored to beat the Falcons on Sunday. 

After that, they’ll have two tough back-to-back games against the Giants — a team that started the season strong but has recently struggled with injuries and a surprise loss to the Lions.

  • It’ll also help if the Eagles and Cowboys — currently ranked first and second in the conference — start losing. 
  • Currently, the Eagles have one loss on their record, courtesy of the Commanders' recent Monday Night Football win.

Zoom out: The Commanders could have gotten a playoff spot if the Cardinals had beaten the 49ers last night, but no such luck. Washington will have to find another way in.

The bottom line: Heinicke is making the Commanders fun to watch again, and no matter what drama surrounds the team owner or its future stadium location, that’s a win for D.C.


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