The 2022 NFL season is underway and expectations are high after the conclusion of Week 1. Overreactions based on those Week 1 results are also plenty. 

One overreaction might be predicting the Washington Commanders to win the NFC East. But is it an overreaction, or a proper prediction?

Three of the four teams in the division won in Week 1, but an injury to Dak Prescott (thumb) could open the door for the other teams to leapfrog the Dallas Cowboys. 

Let’s take a look at how the Commanders can take the division, as well as the impact Week 1 might have on their odds.

Perfect Opportunity for Washington to Win the Division

Let’s start with Washington’s 28-22 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Commanders were written off to start the season. Bringing in Carson Wentz was an upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, but it didn’t really move the needle. However, Wentz proved on Sunday why it was a good idea to trade for him. 

Wentz completed 65.9% of his passes and threw for 313 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He made great throws and had a good pocket presence, only getting sacked once. Curtis Samuel was Wentz’s go-to receiver, hauling in eight catches for 55 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, along with rushing for 17 yards on four carries. 

Though Terry McLaurin didn’t get many looks, he capitalized on his opportunities, pulling in two catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Jahan Dotson made noise in his NFL debut with three catches for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Gibson was quiet on the ground with 58 yards on 14 carries, but made up for it in the receiving game with seven catches for 72 yards. 

The defense also had a solid showing with two sacks, 10 QB hits, five passes defended (including a potential touchdown in the back of the end zone), and a game-sealing interception. 

All in all, Washington looked good on Sunday, scoring 28 points for the first time since Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season. The offense clicked while the defense made key stops. It’s worth noting they did all this despite missing key pieces on both sides of the ball. 

Brian Robinson, who is expected to return in a few weeks after recovering from an offseason shooting incident, missed the game, as did defensive starters Chase Young (ACL) and Kamren Curl (thumb), both of whom are expected to return later this season.

If we look at the rest of the division’s Week 1 results, it’s not hard to see a perfect opportunity for the Commanders to take control. 

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas struggled against Tampa Bay, finishing Week 1 as the only team to not score a touchdown. Prescott is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after thumb surgery, and the Commanders play the Cowboys in Week 4. Perfect timing.

New York Giants

While the New York Giants are 1-0 for the first time since 2016, their win over the Tennessee Titans isn’t something to write home about. Both teams played poorly, and Randy Bullock missed the game-winning field goal as time expired. 

Philadelphia Eagles

That leaves the Philadelphia Eagles as the main early-season competition for the Commanders. The Eagles, led by Jalen Hurts, had a strong showing in their Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions, and have the potential to make a deep postseason run. But they did allow Detroit to score 35 points, which raises questions about their defense.

There’s a lot of potential in Washington, with a strong core of young players surrounding Wentz on offense, and a defense that can be a top-10 unit once everyone is healthy. 

With uncertainty surrounding the NFC East, this is the perfect time for the Commanders to emerge as the top team in the division. 

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