NFL Power Rankings: Losing to the Vikings didn’t drop the Commanders much, but the offense needs to show up in Philly

NFL Power Rankings: Losing to the Vikings didn’t drop the Commanders much, but the offense needs to show up in Philly

NFL-Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders
Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Washington’s loss didn’t move the needle

The Washington Commanders blew a 10 point lead, and allowed the Minnesota Vikings to score 13 unanswered points to get the 20-17 victory. This loss snapped a 3-game winning streak and put them under .500 again with a 4-5 record. While they get some credit in this week’s power rankings for holding the 7-1 Vikings to their second-lowest score of the season, their low-scoring offense doesn’t do unnoticed again.

Despite the loss, Washington didn’t really drop much in the rankings, and their overall average dropped less than half a spot. Head Coach Ron Rivera called the Vikings and Eagles games their measuring sticks for where they stand as a team at the halfway point of the season. A close loss to good team didn’t move the needle. Washington now heads to Philadelphia for a primetime game against the Eagles on Monday Night Football. They opened the week as 10 12 point underdogs to the only undefeated team left. They lost 24-8 at FedEx Field, and that line is already moving more towards an Eagles blowout.

High: 18

Low: 27

Average: 20.7



Non-QB MVP: DT Jonathan Allen

Washington’s defense is the main reason the Commanders embarked on a three-game win streak and nearly upset Minnesota. And the defense is spurred by its tackles, Allen and Daron Payne. You could make this a combo MVP and include Payne, who leads the team with 5.5 sacks, one more than Allen. But Allen is tied for the league lead in tackles for a loss with 14. He also has a higher pass rush win rate, pressure percentage and run stop win rate than Payne. They’re close and could split it, but if picking one, it’s Allen by a hair. They’re the reason Washington can hope for a better second half of the season. — John Keim Last Week: 19

CBS Sports(Prisco)

Their three-game winning streak was snapped by blowing a late lead against the Vikings. They can’t afford that in their division. Last Week: 18

The 33rd Team(Domowitch)

Good news: Their defense held the 7-1 Vikings to their second-lowest point total of the season.

Bad news: The Commanders have managed to score more than 17 points just once in their last seven games. That’s not likely to change this week against the stingy Eagles. Last Week: 18

Athlon Sports(Fischer)

This team did not, in fact, like that comeback from Kirk Cousins. At least for the tortured fan base, things were balanced out fully by the exciting news that Daniel Snyder could end up selling the team. That’s worth a dozen losses. Last Week: 19

Sporting News(Iyer)

The Commanders got fortunate they didn’t lose worse with Taylor Heinicke and the offense struggling against the Vikings. The defense is playing better to give them a chance every week. Last Week: 19


Despite the loss, Taylor Heinicke may have wrested the job from Carson Wentz. Last Week: 17

Pro Football Network(Miller)

The day started with Washington using Taylor Heinicke in their season-ticket advertisement and ended with the impending unrestricted free agent throwing the interception in the fourth quarter that led to the game-tying touchdown.

One of his TD passes came off pure chance. The referee ran into Camryn Bynum, who was tracking a horrific decision on a downfield throw from Heinicke. That throw ended up landing in Curtis Samuel’s hands for a touchdown.

Heinicke is a ton of fun, but he’s a limited quarterback best served to be a backup or spot starter. While the Washington defense has improved drastically since Week 1, the offense has been horrendous. And that probably doesn’t change no matter who is playing QB.


Bleacher Report

If the Washington Commanders miss the postseason this year, they might look back on Sunday’s loss to the Vikings as their missed opportunity.

For most of the game, the Commanders hung with the one-loss NFC North leaders. They even held a 10-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. But Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw a killer interception late that led to a game-tying touchdown, and the Vikings got a field goal at the end of regulation to eke out a three-point win.

Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters after the game that his team committed far too many unforced errors to get a win.

“We got some opportunities,” he said. “We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities. Enough mistakes to go around for everybody.”

Had the Commanders found a way to win, every team in the NFC East would have had a winning record. But Washington is now 2.5 games behind the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys and a whopping 4.5 games behind the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

Being that far below the rest of the NFC East will make a postseason push difficult at best and impossible at worst. Last Week: 18


Washington blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Tough ending to a day which began in promising fashion. Last Week: 17


The Commanders were riding a three-game win streak as they hosted the NFC North-leading Vikings. And the Washington defense did its job for most of the afternoon as Ron Rivera’s club owned a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead.

But the Vikings would score the final 13 points of the game. The Commanders limited Minnesota to just 56 yards on the ground but couldn’t slow down Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ passing attack when it counted most. Last Week: 17

NFL Spin Zone(Gurzi)

As was the case with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, the Washington Commanders look much better with Carson Wentz no longer running their offense. It’s weird because he’s not a bad quarterback but it’s as if his teammates have no faith when he’s under center.

This weekend, they wound up losing but they took the Minnesota Vikings to the limit. Washington had a 17-7 lead in the fourth quarter and a late pick from Taylor Heinicke doomed them as Minnesota tied it after that, then won a late field goal.

Even with the loss, they looked competitive and nearly made it four wins in a row. That’s a far cry from the 1-4 start they had. Last Week: 21

The Score

The Commanders appeared to be on their way to a surprise triumph over the Vikings before Minnesota ripped off 13 unanswered fourth-quarter points. Last Week: 19

New York Post(Dunleavy)

Last Week: 20


Last Week: 19


The Athletic(Wulf)*Includes a convoluted trade scenario for every team

Trade recall: Second-round pick Dante Pettis and fifth-round pick D.J. Reed for second-round pick Derrius Guice and third-round pick Geron Christian (trade with Niners, April 2018)

Trent Williams would probably help the most on a short-term basis, but he’s made it clear he’s never putting that uniform on again. Reversing the Carson Wentz trade might be best for morale, which is at an all-time high for Commanders fans following the report of the Snyders considering selling the team. Who cares about blowing a late lead to your former quarterback when the long-term state of the franchise is at stake? Anyway, Reed is playing at a high level for the Jets and would help a pass defense that ranks 26th in DVOA (while sporting the No. 1 DVOA run defense). Last Week: 24


NFL power rankings, wins and losses, touchdowns. None of that matters anymore for the fan base. Just the idea of the Washington Commanders being sold – potentially for $7 billion – is worth celebrating. The “Will he or won’t he” regarding Snyder’s plans will be one of the biggest NFL storylines down the stretch. Last Week: 22


Taylor Heinicke remains far more watchable than Carson Wentz was at any point. Last Week: 23


Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

Taylor Heinicke has his moments, but he can’t avoid the games in which it’s clear he’s really not a long-term answer. On Sunday he had 149 yards and 49 came on one play to Curtis Samuel. He threw an interception to Harrison Smith when he tried to do a little too much on a deeper pass over the middle and that was the turning point of the game. Everyone was quick to want to bury Carson Wentz and move on from him, but it’s not like Heinicke is the solution. Last Week: 20

Boston Herald(Guregian)

There are times, like the game against Minnesota, where it becomes clearer why Taylor Heinicke can’t hold down a starter’s job. Last Week: 20

Fox Sports(Helman)

There’s no denying the Commanders are a more entertaining team with backup QB Taylor Heinicke, but it’s fair to wonder what his ceiling is. From the time Washington took a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Commanders offense ran eight plays for 10 yards. Heinicke’s interception midway through the quarter was the turning point in the Vikings’ comeback. Last Week: 19


USA Today(Davis)

Just 25.9% of Washington’s offensive drives end in points, worst in the league. That’s not likely to improve Monday night in Philadelphia. Last Week: 24

Walter Football

The Redskins featured Taylor Heinicke as the only player in their advertising for 2023 season tickets. Perhaps they’ll re-think that position after Heinicke’s abysmal interception in the fourth quarter that gave the Vikings the win on a silver platter. Last Week: 26


The Ringer(Gayle)

The Commanders used an image of Taylor Heinicke to advertise season tickets for the 2023 season, and “Heinicke” chants broke out at FedEx Field on Sunday after he completed a deep touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel in triple coverage (quadruple if you count the referee).

Heinicke later threw an ugly interception to Harrison Smith that ultimately cost Washington the game, of course. The backup QB is a fan favorite and seems to be an upgrade over starter Carson Wentz, but ultimately isn’t the future star at the position the Commanders desperately need to right the ship. Last Week: 23

Clutch Points(Johrendt)

A close home loss to the Vikings in a game they had control of for most of certainly is an expected outcome for the 2022 version of the Commanders … but at least they had their snazzy alternate uniforms on. Taylor Heinicke looks like he very well could be a starting QB somewhere (and that he is better than Carson Wentz), but just not sure if that somewhere is with the Commanders. Last Week: 25


Last Week: 26


There’s an odd thing going on in Washington with Taylor Heinicke. The backup quarterback has proven over the past two seasons that he’s a middle-of-the-road type of player … and yet the crowd at Commanders games absolutely loves him. Sunday’s loss to the Vikings featured multiple “Hein-i-cke!” chants, which mostly died out after the fiery QB sailed a pass over the middle for the Harrison Smith interception that set up Minnesota’s game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Heinicke’s passion has endeared him to the fan base, but don’t be surprised if Ron Rivera turns the keys of the offense back over to Carson Wentz when the time comes. Last Week: 25


The Lines

Taylor Heinicke was lucky to reach 100 passing yards against a vulnerable Vikings defense considering his 49-yard TD pass to Curtis Samuel was thrown into triple coverage. Washington has found some success on the ground, but won’t have an advantage at the point of attack against the Eagles. Last Week: 26

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