Commanders News: Ron Rivera, increased urgency, power rankings and Sam Howell

Delving deeper into the latest Commanders news and rumors from around the media.
Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Washington Commanders news stories are hitting the headlines as practices begin for Week 11 against the New York Giants?

There's just no telling what might happen if the Washington Commanders lose against the New York Giants in Week 11. Their NFC East adversaries triumphed in their first meeting of the campaign but remain among the league's bottom-feeders, which means nothing less than a convincing victory will do before the schedule gets especially tough before the bye.

Pressure is growing on those in positions of power, that's for sure. Until then, the stories accumulating column inches include Ron Rivera's hot seat, an increased sense of urgency, Sam Howell's impressive form, and where the Commanders stand in ESPN's weekly power rankings.

Let's delve into each topic in more detail.

Commanders drop in ESPN's power rankings

It was another good effort at the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. But the Washington Commanders defense couldn't get the job done late as quarterback Geno Smith mustered enough quick yards for a walk-off field goal.

This leaves the Commanders at 4-6 and staring down the barrel of another lost campaign. Washington dropped one spot to No. 20 in ESPN's power rankings as a result, with beat reporter John Keim highlighting their Thanksgiving Day contest at the Dallas Cowboys as their most important remaining fixture.

"Listen, when you're 4-6 every game is a big one, but this one stands out because it's not only a game where the nation will be watching -- a chance for quarterback Sam Howell to show his development -- but it could be a chance for the Commanders to even their record. That is, of course, if they beat the Tommy DeVito-led New York Giants Sunday. Washington technically would still be in the playoff hunt if it beat New York and lost to Dallas. But realistically it would be a wrap, especially with upcoming games against Miami, San Francisco and the Cowboys. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is 5-0 vs. Washington in Dallas."

John Keim, ESPN

It would be a shock if the Commanders weren't 5-6 going to AT&T Stadium. Dallas also has an open goal at the Carolina Panthers next Sunday, so they'll be brimming with confidence in the pursuit of making another statement with the national NFL audience watching on after their Thanksgiving festivities.