Can the Washington Commanders Rise to the Challenge in 2023? The NFC East has come a long way since it was mockingly called the “NFC Least.” Now dubbed the “NFC Beast,” the division is a powerhouse that includes formidable teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the Washington Commanders. Despite significant offseason improvements, Washington still appears to be the underdog, with many predicting the team will finish towards the bottom of the division source.
Washington Commanders’ Roadblocks
CBS Sports has cast doubt on the Commanders’ ability to rise from the bottom, citing key issues such as a new starting QB, Sam Howell, and last year’s performance. Washington finished 5.5 games behind the Eagles and 3.5 games behind the Cowboys last season. This year, Washington faces an uphill battle, particularly because all three of its division rivals made the playoffs last year source.
Until Smith makes catches like these please don't compare him to the Best WR in the NFC East🤗 pic.twitter.com/YyjP8z0xBD— Black Moscato🥃 (@Wholesome_Ace) September 4, 2023
The Potential and the Challenges
However, it’s not all gloom and doom for Washington. Their defense, led by Jack Del Rio, was a top-10 unit last season and has bolstered its secondary with the addition of Emmanuel Forbes. This makes them a considerable force to reckon with on the defensive side source. The question marks hover over the offense. Rookie QB Sam Howell will be working under offensive wizard Eric Bieniemy, with weapons like Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, and Brian Robinson Jr. to aid him source.
NFC East Defensive Ranking
When compared position by position, the Commanders’ defense lags behind their NFC East rivals. According to an analysis by Big Blue View, the Commanders have been outperformed by other teams in the division in areas such as interior defensive line, edge defenders, linebackers, and the secondary source. Dallas comes out as the team with the strongest defense, followed by the Giants and then the Eagles. Despite their individual talents, the Commanders find themselves at the bottom of these rankings.
Final Thoughts and Speculations
While the statistics and rankings suggest that the Commanders are the underdogs, it’s essential to remember that this is the NFL, where anything can happen. Last season, Washington was in contention till the very end, showing resilience and promise. Their performance against other NFC East teams was commendable, as they went 2-3-1, including wins against both the Eagles and the Cowboys. With the NFL being a league of surprises, counting the Commanders out would be premature.
In summary, while Washington faces challenges both within and outside the division, they also have a slate of new and returning talent that could make them the surprise package of the 2023 NFL season. So, could Washington really win the NFC East? It might seem unlikely, but in the NFL, never say never.