The NFL comes at you quick. In 2017, Carson Wentz was having an MVP-level season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He then suffered a gruesome injury that knocked him out for the rest of the season. The Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl without Wentz and he was never able to regain his footing in Philadelphia. His play slipped and a few years later, he was out of town. After a failed season with the Colts last year, Wentz is now on his third team in three years.
The Washington Commanders have been looking for an answer at the quarterback position for years. Their desperation has led them to Wentz. Both parties need each other. Washington would love average or better play at the quarterback position. Wentz would love to be a part of a franchise that actually wants him long term. Wentz might be running out of opportunities if this one doesn't work out.
In 2020, seven wins was enough for Washington to win the NFC East. They won seven games again last season, but it wasn't nearly enough to compete with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. While the record might have been the same, it was obvious the team was a bit off. The defense was nowhere near as good. Currently injured Chase Young should be ready to go a few weeks into the season. On the offensive side, Wentz should be an upgrade to Taylor Heinicke.
Washington should be competitive, but they certainly have their issues and question marks. Yahoo's Frank Schwab ranks them 23rd in his preseason power rankings. That's a ranking that suggests that while the team isn't a tire-fire, the playoffs would be a surprise and successful season. The betting market seems to agree with that kind of outlook.
Washington is an underdog to make the playoffs
The Washington Commanders went 7-10 in 2021. It was the second straight season the organization won seven games. Miraculously, that was enough to win the division in 2020, but that miracle didn't repeat itself last season. Seven wins looks a lot less ugly and feels a lot less disappointing when it leads to a division crown.
Despite back-to-back seven win seasons, oddsmakers have set Washington's win-total for this upcoming season at 8.5 wins. This line is up from earlier in the offseason, when Washington opened with a win total of 7.5 games. While the win total might feel a little high, 65% of bets and 64% of the money is backing Washington to win nine or more games this season.
Washington is currently a +150 underdog to make the playoffs in 2022. Those odds suggest the Commanders make the playoffs 40% of the time. While that number might not be as high as you want it to be, it's certainly not a small probability. According to the betting odds, the Commanders will compete with teams like the Vikings (-105 to make the playoffs), Cardinals (+120) and New Orleans (+135) to make the playoffs in the NFC. Washington is +325 to be a wild card team, which seems like the most likely path for the Commanders.
The Commanders are +500 to win the NFC East. Those are the third best odds in the division behind the Cowboys and Eagles. Washington is a +160 underdog to finish in a top-2 spot in the division. According to the betting odds, the Commanders are the team most likely to finish third in the NFC East.
Commanders are a Super Bowl long shot
The Washington Commanders are 66-to-1 to win the Super Bowl in 2022. Those are the 22nd best odds in football. Washington might be one of the last teams on the list before you get to "lighting your money on fire" territory.
At 66-to-1, the Commanders are just behind teams like the Raiders, Vikings, Patriots and Saints. They're ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's not the most ideal company, but these are teams that either made the playoffs last year or are expected to compete for the playoffs this upcoming season. The price feels about right for Washington.
The Commanders are 30-to-1 to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Those odds are just behind Minnesota and New Orleans and ahead of the Giants and Bears.
Washington player awards and props
What do the awards markets and listed player props think about some of Washington's top players?
It was just five years ago that Carson Wentz looked like he was going to run away with the MVP for the Eagles. But as we discussed, things change quickly. In his first year with the Commanders, Wentz is 80-to-1 to win NFL MVP. Those are the same odds as Baker Mayfield, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Whether it's mental or physical, Wentz hasn't been able to replicate 2017. However, we've seen him do it which will always add some kind of mystique or appeal to Wentz.
Wentz is 50-to-1 to lead the league in passing yards and 66-to-1 to lead the league in passing touchdowns. He finished 18th and 10th in those two categories last year, respectively. Wentz is 25-to-1 to lead the league in interceptions. He had just seven last season.
The over/under for passing yards for Wentz this season is set at 3549.5 yards. Wentz beat this number by just 14 yards last season. Overall, he's gone over in three of six seasons during his career. His touchdown number is set at 23.5 passing touchdowns. He threw 27 last season.
Unfortunately, it looks like Chase Young might not be quite ready to start this upcoming season. He might just miss a week or two, but there's also been talk about him opening the season on the PUP list, which would require a four-game absence. However, despite the health concerns, the betting market is high on the third-year edge rusher out of Ohio State.
Chase Young is 25-to-1 to win defensive player of the year. Those odds are tied with Khalil Mack for seventh best odds. He's 40-to-1 to lead the league in sacks, and his over/under for sacks is set at eight. It's very hard to bet those numbers without knowing how many games he will miss at the start. His injury has also made him a contender for comeback player of the year. Young is 16-to-1 to win Comeback Player of the Year, tied for the ninth best odds with J.K. Dobbins.
Terry McLaurin was paid this past offseason, and Washington is expecting a big year from their No. 1 receiver. He's 50-to-1 to lead the league in receiving yards, tied for the 23rd best odds with names like Amari Cooper and Michael Pittman Jr. McLaurin's reception prop is set at 74.5 receptions. He had 77 last year, and his career average is 74. His over/under for receiving yards is set at 999.5 yards. He had 1053 yards last season and has eclipsed 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. His receiving touchdown line is set at 6.5 touchdowns. He had five last season and has 16 scores over three seasons.
Despite bringing back J.D. McKissic and drafting Brian Robinson, it appears that Antonio Gibson will enter the season as the No. 1 option in the Washington backfield. He's 16-to-1 to lead the league in rushing yards, tied for the seventh best odds with Najee Harris. He finished sixth last season. Gibson's over/under for rushing yards is set at 799.5. He eclipsed 1,000 last season.
Other Commanders odds
Jahan Dotson is 18-to-1 to win offensive rookie of the year. The first-round pick out of Penn State has the 14th best odds, just behind Cowboys' receiver Jalen Tolbert and Bills' running back James Cook. For his rookie season, Dotson has over/unders of 49.5 receptions, 599.5 receiving yards and 3.5 touchdowns.
Ron Rivera is 35-to-1 to win NFL coach of the year. Those odds are tied for 25th best with Andy Reid and Kliff Kingsbury.
Washington opens the season as a favorite
We're a little over a month away from the start of the NFL season. The Washington Commanders open the season as a 3.5-point home favorite against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's certainly a winnable game for the Commanders to open the season, but I'm sure Jaguars players and fans feel the same way looking at Washington.
If I had to pick a side in this game, I'm taking more than a field goal with the Jaguars. The Jaguars should be improved with Doug Pederson at the helm and I'm not sure much separates these teams. Washington is probably the slightly better team, but laying 3.5-points here seems heavy.