Despite coming off two straight defeats, the Washington Commanders moved up slightly in FanSided's Week 5 power rankings.
We'll find out plenty about whether the Washington Commanders can cope with increased expectations as a heavy favorite this week. Their Thursday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears in front of a sold-out crowd at FedEx Field brings a different challenge versus a team that sits at 0-4, which is a far cry from the outlook heading into their contests over the last fortnight.
After a disastrous home loss against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, one could have forgiven fans for feeling a little pessimistic last time around at the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, what they witnessed was a rousing effort from the Commanders, who took the defending NFC conference champions to overtime and could have won had a couple of questionable decisions gone their way.
Eric Bieniemy's offensive scheme was balanced and fluid in equal measure. Washington's defense represented a work in progress, but there is enough talent to turn things around and become more impactful starting this weekend against a less-than-stellar offensive line.
It was a second straight loss for the Commanders, but one that came with plenty of optimism attached. Something that was reflected in Russell S. Baxter from FanSided's latest power rankings.
The writer moved Washington up two spots to No. 17, which is just deserved after such an impressive performance. However, they did fall short, which puts additional pressure on the Commanders to get the job done with the primetime audience watching intently tomorrow evening.
"The Commanders were back in Philadelphia, where a year ago they handed the Eagles their first loss of 2022 (after an 8-0 start). Ron Rivera’s team was humbled at home the previous week by the Bills. However, this would be a much different story as Washington owned a 17-7 second-quarter lead before the Eagles came all the way back. Down 24-17 and 31-24, the Commanders responded with tying scores. They sent the game into overtime on the final play of regulation when Sam Howell found Jahan Dotson for a 10-yard TD. Rivera’s team succumbed in OT."- Russell Baxter, FanSided
As we've said numerous times, there are no moral victories in the NFL. It's a results business and nobody will know that more than Ron Rivera, who can ill afford a prolonged slump at any stage with his job hanging in the balance as Josh Harris' ownership group continues to assess everything across the franchise from top to bottom.
Through four weeks, the Commanders can at least look at Sam Howell as a potential franchise option under center. The former first-round pick had one bad game, but he demonstrated impressive growth with every passing week and his performance at the Eagles was exactly the response everyone hoped for despite not coming away with the win.
If the Commanders don't beat the Bears, then the doom and gloom will likely return. That's to be expected versus a winless team, so it'll be interesting to see how things unfold on a short week without much in the way of recovery time.
FedEx Fied will be rocking unless those tickets sold come from Bears fans who are simply gluttons for punishment. Hopefully, that will be enough to spur the Commanders on to their third victory of the campaign.