Where do you go from here is a common question when your season seems to be over nearing the halfway point in the season. The Washington Football Team enters today with a 2-5 record, and if they just won another game and had a 3-4 record, you may feel differently. Today’s opponent, the Denver Broncos have that 3-4 in the standings and a win for them today would get them back to .500. A loss for the WFT would sink them to 2-6. A win for the WFT would give a small glimmer of hope at 3-5. More than anything this team is playing for self-respect. The rest we will know in the next nine games. They say to take it one week at a time. So here we are with a hole dug that they have to climb out of.
How many weeks have we said that the defense needs to set the tone in a game. They played much better last week, but it was not enough against a really good Packers team. The defense led by Chase Young has looked better the past two weeks. Today they get to key on Denver’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
For the offense, Taylor Heinicke had a good game in Green Bay but it wasn’t enough. With a total of seven career starts on his record, Heinicke is still young in terms of getting enough starts. Heinicke’s opposite number today, Bridgewater, has a QBR this season of only 50.3 compared to Heinicke’s 44.9. That is not good in terms of rankings with Heinicke ranked as the 22nd QB in the NFL. You might be surprised that he is ahead of all of these QBs: 23 Ben Roethlisberger PIT, 24 Sam Darnold CAR, 25 Baker Mayfield CLE, 26 Jalen Hurts PHI, 27 Trevor Lawrence JAX, 28 Jimmy Garoppolo SF, 29 Jared Goff DET, 30 Davis Mills HOU, 31 Zach Wilson NYJ, 32 Justin Fields CHI. Yes, there are quite a few surprises on that list.
Unfortunately for Heinicke and the WFT, Denver has the fifth ranked defense in the NFL. They have only given up 323.4 yards per game, and they rank fourth best on their scoring defense allowing only 18.1 points per game. The reason Denver is 3-4 is because of their scuffling offense, and they get back a few weapons today on offense.
Washington has been the worst third down defensive team in the NFL, and they continue to be the worst by a large margin. They have allowed 56.86% on 3rd down conversions this season. In comparison, last year they were the seventh best with a 37.83% mark. If you had to point to one factor on the differences of impact between last year and this year it has to be in the third down defense.
There is plenty of blame to go around on the defense, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has few answers on what has gone wrong. Expect major changes in the off-season.
The intangibles will play a part in this game. We will see what week eight has for the WFT as we analyze the positives and negatives.
WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), Shannon Spake (sideline)
SPREAD: Washington +3| O/U: 44.5