The Washington Commanders are now 5-1 in their last six games after thumping the Houston Texans on Sunday. That could easily be a 6-0 record had they not melted down in the fourth quarter against the Vikings two weeks ago.
This marks yet another in-season turnaround under Ron Rivera, tough the Commanders didn’t wait until the second half of the schedule (or after their bye) to get it started. Because of that, Washington has ample time to bolster their playoff odds before their daunting three-game stretch to close the campaign.
It’s not premature for fans to start talking playoffs. After all, the Commanders are smack in the middle of a crowded playoff race in the NFC.
With the standings getting shuffled seemingly every week — and three consecutive games against teams vying for a Wild Card berth on deck — let’s take a look at where Washington stands in the picture after Week 11, shall we?
Commanders: Updated look at NFC playoff race after Week 11
Here’s how the NFC playoff picture looks after Week 11.
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
- San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
- Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
- New York Giants (7-3)
- Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
- Washington Commanders (6-5)
- Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
- Detroit Lions (4-6)
The Commanders are on the outside looking in, but they have a golden opportunity to solidify their ground as the No. 7 seed with a win over the Falcons in Week 12. The Packers, Cardinals and Saints are all 4-7, so they’re technically still “in the hunt” but another loss would all but eliminate them from contention.
Assuming there’s no movement amongst the top four seeds, the Giants, Seahawks and Commanders will essentially be battling for two of the final three spots. That’s not ideal, but Washington has an excellent chance to leapfrog New York since they play them twice in a three-week span from Weeks 13-15.
Looking at upcoming schedules, the Giants have six of their final seven games against likely playoff teams, including the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Washington (twice), Minnesota, and Philadelphia (twice). They also play the Colts, who are no longer a pushover with Matt Ryan back starting under center.
The Seahawks have a much easier schedule the rest of the way, with just two of seven remaining games against likely playoff teams, including the 49ers and Chiefs. They have the Jets, too, but that’s at home and New York can’t score more than 10 points with Zach Wilson quarterbacking the offense.
Bottom line? The Commanders control their own destiny and they have a real chance of finishing Week 15 at 9-5 or at worst 8-6 if they take care of business against Atlanta and win one of their two fixtures against the reeling Giants.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of these next three weeks.