The Washington Commanders are finally starting to garner recognition from the national media.
Between Brian Robinson being named the top rookie in Week 12 by popular NFL Network series “Good Morning Football,” and ESPN’s “NFL Live” finally recognizing the performance of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, and praising the team’s identity as a run-first offense, Washington reputation is much-improved.
The Commanders currently own the No. 7 seed in the NFC and they could move as high as No. 6, right behind the hated Cowboys, if they beat the Giants in East Rutherford on Sunday. Washington is favored to win that game, and they should absolutely win given New York’s struggles against the run in recent weeks.
If you can believe it, Ron Rivera’s side is starting to gain respect in the weekly power rankings, jumping to No. 13 from No. 16, per NFL.com. According to ESPN, Washington is the 12th-best team in the league entering Week 13; ahead of the Giants, Seahawks, Patriots and Buccaneers, respectively.
As always, though, there’s one hater and USA TODAY’s Nate Davis carries that mantle this week for keeping the Commanders at No. 16 (!) after they won their third straight Sunday and have won six of seven dating back to Week 6.
Commanders: USA TODAY’s Week 13 power rankings are embarrassing.
Nobody’s asking the Commanders to crack the top 10. They’d probably have to sweep the Giants in order for that to happen. Even then, analysts will still be skeptical given the team’s uncertainty at quarterback from week-to-week. But to keep the NFL’s hottest team, which would be in the playoffs if the season ended today smack in the middle of the pack after another win is embarrassing.
According to Davis, the Buccaneers (No. 13) should be higher, despite the fact they can’t score more than 17 points and their defense can’t put together a complete game; see their overtime loss to the then-3-7 Browns in Week 12. The team is ravaged by injuries and their game management is a train wreck.
Next up is the Seahawks at No. 14. Another squad behind Washington in the playoff standings, Seattle is fresh off an ugly home loss to the previously three-win Raiders. Though coming off back-to-back losses, in which they surrendered a combined 61 points, Pete Carroll’s side dropped one spot in the ranking.
And finally, we get to the Giants at No. 15. New York has lost three of four, including two straight, and their best player, Saquon Barkley, is regressing after an MVP-caliber start to the campaign. Over the last five games, Barkley is averaging 75 rushing yards on a lousy 3.6 yards per attempt. In the first six weeks, Barkley tallied over 100 rushing yards per contest on an exemplary 5.1 yards per attempt.
The Giants are very clearly regressing, and yet they didn’t move from No. 15 in Davis’ power rankings. Again, two straight losses (by a combined 21 points, by the way) and they didn’t budge, while the Commanders also stayed put.
Make it make sense!