And just like that, we’re a few days away from another year of football in Washington, but this time with a different name, the Commanders.
No matter how you feel about the name or the controversy that seems to surround the team, this is the time of year when every team’s fanbase anticipates their team going to the Super Bowl, or at least the playoffs.
After disappointing results year after year, this season, it feels like Washington fans feel a bit jaded.
Yes, you have to give Ron Rivera credit for how he has navigated everything in his time with the team through cancer, the COVID pandemic, the cheerleader scandal, the constant Dan Snyder news cycle, the team name change, the shooting of a player, on and on.
However, despite the respect that Rivera commands, this team has time and time again shown that it does not know how to adjust.
Yes, on paper, this is the best offense the team has had in years. And yes, we do have a ton of studs on the defensive line. However, the fact that the team has not addressed the weakest part of its roster at linebacker outside of bringing back retreads speaks volumes about the staff being stuck in its ways.
And, that is the lens through which I am making these 10 predictions for the 2022 season. Hopefully, the team far outperforms what I predict and we can look back and laugh at these predictions.
Let’s get started.
10 last-minute bold predictions for the Commanders
Bold Prediction 1:
Carson Wentz will provide the team with the best quarterback play it has had since Kirk Cousins was with the team. Wentz will have his blunders and head-scratching decisions but will also make passes fans haven’t seen in years. Wentz will surpass 4,000 passing yards for the second time in his career, and the first time for a Washington quarterback since 2016. With Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas, J.D. McKissic, and more, this is the most talented offense that Wentz has ever been a part of.
Bold Prediction 2:
With Brian Robinson missing the start of the season after suffering from gunshot wounds, Antonio Gibson will take advantage and average 100+ rushing yards and 40+ receiving yards per game while starting. He will also only lose one fumble all season after dealing with fumbling issues last season and in the pre-season.
Bold Prediction 3:
Curtis Samuel will play in all 17 games this season. I know in theory, this doesn’t seem very bold, but Samuel has only played in all 16 games one time in his career (he did play in 15 in 2020) but played in only 27 games across his other three seasons in the league. This will be a welcome addition for Washington and add another weapon for the offense.
Bold Prediction 4:
Logan Thomas will return back to form coming off his injury. With Cole Turner added to the mix, Washington has red zone weapons that Carson Wentz will take advantage of. Thomas and Turner will combine for 12 receiving touchdowns this season.
Bold Prediction 5:
When Brian Robinson returns, Washington will have a logjam of weapons that have similar skillsets in Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and Curtis Samuel. Come the trade deadline, Washington can expect to get some calls and the team will decide to trade away one of these three players.
Bold Prediction 6:
Terry McLaurin who finally has some capable wide receivers across the field will earn his contract by catching over 100 passes in 2022. Last season, 10 receivers passed the 100 reception threshold and McLaurin will be on that list this year. Wentz had never been equipped with an elite receiver until last season with Michael Pittman Jr., so the Wentz to Terry combination will be scary (see what I did there).
Bold Prediction 7:
After having the 31st worst third-down defense last season, Washington will improve slightly but still remain in the bottom five third-down defenses. After seeing no improvements to third-down defense in the pre-season and little to no improvements made to the linebacker position, it’s going to be a long year for the defense.
Bold Prediction 8:
Jack Del Rio will be fired during the season. With the offense humming along, the defense will continue to struggle and someone will have to take the fall. That person will be Del Rio, who has already previously been fined by the team for comments he made this offseason. Despite being a linebacker in the league and an elite defensive coordinator in previous stints, the lack of urgency in building the linebacking corps will be Del Rio’s downfall.
Bold Prediction 9:
A former player turned coach who will be going in the opposite direction is Ryan Kerrigan. This prediction isn’t specifically for the 2022 season but will be something to track long-term. After taking over as the team’s assistant defensive line coach, Kerrigan will build a good rapport with the players and continue to develop his coaching skills. He will get some consideration for defensive line and defensive coordinator positions across the NFL in 2023 and will join a long list of former Washington coaches who go on to have successful head coaching careers…outside of Washington.
Bold Prediction 10:
Washington will improve on last year’s record and finish 9-8, getting 9 wins for the first time since 2015, albeit with one additional game played. Despite missing the playoffs, a winning record will allow Ron Rivera to stay on as head coach as he works towards his five-year vision. With a capable quarterback and the offense in good shape, the team will be able to address gaps on the defense to become a viable contender in 2023.
In a few days, we’ll get a chance to see how much the Commanders have been able to improve this offseason. With winnable games against Jacksonville and Detroit, starting the season 2-0 will go a long way towards getting this fanbase excited about the future of the franchise. What bold predictions do you see for the team in 2022?